Wild Thing

I draw with gloves I invented while listening to recorded bird noises. I do this, so my drawing movements respond to the calls I am hearing. My aim is to capture the energy I feel, see and hear connected to Australian birdlife.

Bird sounds have resonated within me for as long as I can remember.

Their calls are my initial inspiration for wanting to draw them. I hear them regardless of what I'm doing; I could be cooking, working or socialising, and their sound is like a bell ringing, and suddenly I’m off to find where they’re hiding. To me, they encompass what it means to be truly wild.

Many years ago, I made a conscious decision to never have anything caught, caged, or kept in my life again. I interpret wildness as doing the opposite of what is expected. The uninhibited pursuit to navigate life with total freedom, unrestricted by conventional constraints or societal norms.

My exploration of wildness has not been without introspection. Throughout the creation of this body of work, I engaged in daily writing and reflection, letting the concept of self-will run riot in my thoughts on what being wild means in both my life and artwork. I have grappled with the chaos that unrestrained freedom can bring—an anarchic existence devoid of structure or direction. Through my art, I have come to understand that thriving in the wild requires finding balance—a delicate interplay between spontaneity and discipline.

For most of the works in Wild Thing I have used my drawing gloves and over time I think they have evolved into tools that mimic bird claws. Using these gloves test my drawing skills, and my ability to let go—helping me create unexpected marks. They also effectively silence my inner critic and judgmental thoughts because they offer a unique drawing experience that is more connected to marking marks, than whether I am making a good or bad drawing. They have played a key role in transitioning to a more dynamic and expressive drawing style.

Jody Graham - April 2024

My drawing gloves have played a key role in transitioning to a more dynamic and expressive drawing style.

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