A mentor once told me that the shortest distance between two people is a good laugh. That wisdom has inspired me to use humor to convey powerful messages through my work. In absurdity, I find there is clarity, and therein lies the approach with which I pursue my artistry. Using digital-composite techniques to create surrealistic photo-montages, this ongoing project seeks to raise awareness of a well published problem; the need for greater conservation efforts to protect our endangered wildlife. By setting these animals in juxtaposition with New York City scenes, I seek to simply ask “if we cannot protect our wildlife in their own natural habitats, where can they be safe?”
The animals depicted in the “New York City Wildlife” series are wild and were photographed during my journeys to their natural environments in threatened regions around the World. From the Arctic to Africa, Asia, Australia, Americas and Antarctica, my travels to every continent have enabled me to witness the effects of globalization on our World. The message is the same around the globe…these animals and their habitats are threatened by human activity. This is either through climate change, poaching, urban development or other intrusions into their environments.
With each print, I provide a brief summary of the obstacles to survival for the species shown. This includes the current threat rating from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The IUCN is the World’s largest global environmental network, consisting of a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and over 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries, that are supported by a staff of more than 1,000 professionals in 160 countries. The IUCN’s primary purpose is dedicated to finding pragmatic solutions to pressing environmental and developmental challenges. The organization publishes the IUCN Red List of threatened species, which assesses the conservation status of over 70,000 species, including plant, marine, arid, semi-arid and the most threatened of all, freshwater species. At the New York Exhibition, the Artist Statement placard that is posted for visitors contains a QR code which viewers can use on their devices to obtain more information about the IUCN. That information may also be read by clicking http://www.georgegrubb.com/iucn .
Most viewers today recognize the topic of wildlife conservation, but very few recognize the urgency of it. I hope to help increase awareness of the urgency of this crisis through my work. The images in this exhibit are a portion of the collection in the “New York City Wildlife” series; a collection which continues to grow. The New York City exhibition may be viewed at http://georgegrubb.com/p144354987. Also, much of my work is donated to support conservation causes such as these three prints donated to the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species' Biophilia Ball, which celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Red List of Threatened Species, being held at the Natural History Museum in London. I post these opportunities on my blog, which I hope you will follow and support.