King Louis' Animals

King Louis was a proponent of the commercialisation of wallpaper, and hence became the namesake of this work. I was lucky enough to acquire a large amount of vintage wallpaper samples from a university colleague, which I cut into small circles and took to Germany in 2009 for a residency. During a trip to the Frankfurt Zoo, I spent a day drawing all of the animals onto each piece of wallpaper. It was a wonderful experience to attend what I thought was a respectable zoo heavily involved in conservation efforts. The animals seemed happy.

Each drawing had a name stitched into it with cotton. These names were primarily the names of the naturalists that first wrote about the related animal. Due to the limited number of naturalists, however, there were a few exceptions to this rule. The word “toast” that was attached to the image of the Butterfly Fish is due to the French tradition of spreading them onto toast. The word “Atkins” accompanying the cow is a result of my outspoken criticism of the teaching of Dr Robert Atkins.

This work, aesthetically, was a success. It was culled, in part, due to the fact that a large majority of the drawings have since been sold, but also because the message was virtually non-existent.