Project Title: ‘The Guardians’ (from the Herd Series)
In my art practice, I work through drawing, photography and painting. I am interested in contemporary realism with an element of surrealism. My current series of works titled ‘The Guardians’ has evolved from the concept of ‘The Herd’, where I have looked at the emotional and social needs of both animals and humans. I focus on this notion of ‘herd-like behaviour in humans and the similarities that we display and share with other animal species.
We are by nature social creatures and apart from normal family ties we like to connect with people who have similar interests. We also like to be popular and generally don’t want to be seen as ‘different’. Because of this we tend to conform so we will fit in with the crowd. Psychologists say this relates to our survival instinct. We feel safer in a group as our chances of survival are greater. Studies have been done on the science of following others and it was found that it only takes 5% of a particular group to influence the other 95%.
I have focussed on one particular group that allows me to express that concept. Using a close knit group like Bikers and having researched the subject, I found they concisely and symbolically represent that herd mentality but are particularly visually interesting as a subject matter. Their attire adds to that analogy, adorned in animal skin (leathers) and branding, akin to the branding of animals. In addition to this their powerful machines add to those connotations.
I embarked on several photographic shoots of both bikers and suitable locations and I felt that the Docklands area of Dublin at night would make interesting backdrops for narrative in my work.