A.J. Hubbard Artist Statement

Many Hundred Miles

American bison, a national symbol of both the United States and Canada and an animal considered sacred to many indigenous peoples of the North American continent, were nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. The conquest of the American West led to the destruction of their habitat and overhunting by settlers, and their decline is closely intertwined in popular history with the imperial notion of “Manifest Destiny” and the establishment of a trans-continental railroad to the Pacific. With my final project I wanted to illustrate the relationship between humans and bison at the height of the former’s expansionism and the latter’s decline in a one-minute animated video. Inspired by the style of William Kentridge’s short films, as well as the silhouettes of James Prosek, I plan on illustrating this ecological relationship in changing charcoal drawings of which I will continuously take pictures. I want to put particular focus on the elements that make up the bison’s environment, and the effect that human inhabitance has on them, while also illustrating the irony of the bison’s symbology in American lore with its near destruction by the nation’s people. Below are a few preliminary sketches in graphite.

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