Marla Brenner and I were interviewed at the Birds in Art opening weekend. Watch the interview!
The part Rob left out of the interview was that the turkeys that I “liberated” were actually, originally intended for Thanksgiving dinners for friends and family. I raised the turkeys to use
as models AND for meat, just as I’d done years past with the Broad Breasted Bronzes and Giant Whites. But wild turkeys can fly (which I didn’t think about ahead of time), and they had a different agenda, so I started clipping their wings once I realized they were all going to fly away.
But then, through my own need to have beautiful models, their wings were allowed to grow out (after a clumsy, unsightly wing clipping –hey c’mon, my models were escaping one-by-one daily!– that left my models looking like strange, ungainly, flightless birds that were not exactly fit for modelling). I decided then that wild turkeys flying off to be wild kind of made sense, and I sketched and photographed the birds like crazy once their wings grew out, knowing they were going to take off any day. And then, one by one over a few days they flew over the fence to freedom. They definitely earned it! Well, they also got a long, safe-from-predators, well-fed childhood before they took off.
And it was awesome the following spring to go on jogs with the dogs, when all-of-a-sudden we’d scare up a mama turkey and her rafter/gobble/flock of tiny little poults flapping like mad to follow her up into the trees. This happened often that spring. I felt proud–like they were my grandkids or something.