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It’s hard to find a jumping-off point or the genesis of a particular project. Animals, nature and environmental art are all topics that have filled the pages of Juxtapoz over the years, sometimes deliberately and conceptually, but often times organically. Tiffany Bozic, Tara Tucker, Corey Arnold and others in this book have been featured in the pages of our magazine. In recent years, Jane Kim, Josh Keyes and Sage Vaughn have appeared as we have made a conscious effort to examine the relationship between artists and their thematic representations of human impact on the environment.
This effort has borne itself in our desire to focus on the idea of animals in art, or as we put it, the genre of Wild. From sculpture to painting, muralism to photography, Juxtapoz Wild is a contemporary examination of why and how artists use the natural world in their work. In some instances, like Keyes, Ryan McLennan, and Lara Ball, the work speaks to nature’s balance in the absence of humans. AJ Fosik, Laurel Roth and Dennis McNett all find strength and symbolic power in transforming animals into almost folklorish heroes. And there are muralists like Jane Kim, ROA, Faith47 and DALeast who use the public arena to remind us of the destruction of other species with which we share the Earth.
Not everything in this book is meant to be a politically-charged or environmental statement. Our scope was broadened to include the absurd and the supernatural. However, each artist has been asked to confront environmental themes, and to present their work under the guise that our need to be wild is perhaps a reaction to our abuse of what makes the Earth so special to begin with. As Carlo McCormick notes so eloquently in his foreword, “It’s no wonder then that we consistently return to nature as metaphor and allegory for the human condition.” May we tread a little lighter, and let our wild side break free. - Evan Pricco