I am Kenya Ferrand-Ott, an artist born and raised in Indiana. I work in several mediums; drawing, watercolors, and acrylics. The goal of my work is to create awareness and education of the creatures we share this world with.
I was born with dyslexia and because of that i had a hard time communicating with people effectively. Dyslexia isn't just putting letters backwards, that is a very tinny part of what it can be. When dealing with bullies I would just clam up, I know that because I was so overwhelmed that the wrong words would come out or the harder it would be to say words in general. They didn't need more ammunition by pointing out my stuttering or saying the wrong word. So for me, having grown up on a very, VERY rule farm, it was easier to talk with animals. I didn't have to use words, though I practiced talking to them, but if I was frustrated or sad they still know. Body language is very important when communicating with animals and this is why they are so important to me, and helping people understand or continue to admire them is what I want to do.
The long and short of that whole thing is that I feel I owe my subjects for everything they have done for me, so my endangered species paintings and prints will have a portion of my presets go towards preservation to help them survive.
I work with a combination of Minimal Realism and Dynamic Realism to achieve not just a realistic likeness of a subject but an energized moment in time.
I love and still study the Renaissance masters to be able to create the illusion of the real in the most convincing and impacting way. But one thing always bothered me, going up in the technology age I never thought to hard about it until much later, the paintings where dramatic but there was no action or movement. There were also few animals, and coming from a Native American, nature heavy upbringing I couldn’t understand why people where given more care and attention than the other living beings in the paintings. With the development of the camera and the creation of Hyper or Photo-realism the world was able to achieve what the master seemed unable to. However, Hyper or Photo-realism was way before my time, it seems that even the Hyper or Photo-realism artist didn’t use picture to its fullest potential. Fine do a stagnate image of an all American street, or portrait of a posing person, but so little motion. Having done Photo-realism since middle school I needed more challenge. Hyper or Photo-realism where art movements that was just cut too short.
Now hand with me here, but having always been a big wildlife enthusiast, I am a product of my late 80’s TV shows for sure, I was a big fan of a show called “Eyewitness”. Such beautiful animals shown in so much detail, movement, and intensity with only a white background for them to move through. It felt like there was nothing else in the room but you and the subject, and I always loved that feeling. So here is where the minimalism comes in. I wanted to make photo-realist works of art with dynamic compositions that where a slice of life of my animal subjects. In doing so I kept finding that adding background, excess foliage, and environment allowed my subjects to use their natural camouflage to become less, or uniform important in to my backgrounds. It was unnecessary information. I wanted that cross section of that life, just that moment, a shared moment between the viewer and that creature. To pause on a moment of time and feel what a subject means in that moment and the world. Perhaps adding some environmental details for creatures that live in several bioms to give context clues as to their location.
As I was trying to resolve the issue of my subjects blending into their environment I had the thought of elevating my subjects with decorative filigree an elements. In my experimenting with Minimal realism and Dynamic realism I decided to go in the opposite direction of minimalism with Maximalism. Taking the slight environmental details and turning them into decorative elements to elevate the significance of my subjects and allowing them to contrast against the flat metallic elements. Allowing me to bring the broader speaking subject of the composition itself that carries contextual importance with the start contrast of Realism and Maximalism.