“I wish that my little Pinocchio would be a real boy!” (Gepetto) – Giving human traits to animals and inanimate objects like puppets has amused and entertained us since a parent first told a bedtime story. Ask any pet owner if their four legged friends have voices and personalities that contribute to the household spirit in fun and memorable ways. I know the critters in our house do.

I think most people have a fascination with animals that goes beyond a simple academic interest. We relate to animals directly and honestly without pretension or emotional baggage. We project our thoughts and feelings onto them. When we give them human traits we are really speaking through them. They can become our alter egos.

It’s no surprise then that animals find themselves featured in many children’s stories, family focussed advertising campaigns and product identity systems. In these images here I have given voices and expression to our animal friends in all of these groups. Certain species have innate features that lend themselves to various roles. A lion is often thought to be fearless and mighty. They may be the opposite as in the “Wizard’s Cowardly Lion”. A coyote is sometimes sly and devious or again they may be the inverse as in Looney Tunes’ hapless “Wily Coyote”. It’s an exciting challenge to play on a creature’s natural form and come up with a new, unique character.

Norman Rockwell often said that for an artist to make his subjects believable you must love them. I don’t think anyone who looks at my work would doubt for a minute that I have a great love for creatures great and small. If you wish to see my animal samples on the Creative Shake website please click (HERE).

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