Dave Stevens


(posted on 15 Mar 2024)

The weird and wonderful creatures that make up the plankton of the Pacific Ocean were the motivation behind this image with a cage to signify the zoo. I have watched episodes on TV lately that show plankton at various locations and at depths that defy our understanding. These microscopic creatures are an important part of the food chain that provides sustenance for the much larger basking sharks, manta rays and humpback whales. These sea creatures swim with their mouths open through schools of plankton, straining their food out of the water. Small bits of plastic that mix with the plankton pose a real and immediate danger to these larger underwater creatures. Whale sharks, which can live for one hundred years, manta rays and sperm whales rely on plankton but the plastics don’t break down and can block the digestive tracts threatening death.

One of the subjects that I have been incorporating lately are whales which I see as flying through their environment the same as birds in the air. First, I create geometric shapes with stencils that I hand cut and use special brushes that are flat and round. By mixing colours and varying the amount of paint I can create a variety of shapes on either black or white paper. Later I hand paint into the stencil images adding whales and vegetation to the geometric shapes.
This technique also allows me to question what is the foreground and the background of these images as both play a role and contribute to the overall effect.