Wildlife Fashion Art Safari began in the summer of 2005 as a collaboration between ceramicist Peter Morgan and new media artist Adam Hinterlang. The two met in graduate school at Alfred University. “We’d get into shenanigans and exchange ideas. We lamented about being broke all the time when we came up with a scheme,” said Hinterlang.
The original principal was to take fashionable, trendy colors of the day, like pink and brown for example, and apply them to silhouetted images of animals in action poses based on inspiration found in Zoobooks and internet research they had done. This project brought together both artists’ interest in animals and color theory.
Initially, the goal was to produce the imagery as “hot ticket fashionable items like bags,” said Hinterlang. “But we never got there. We just ripped a bunch of prints.”
The project grew and the digital prints transitioned to incorporate Morgan’s background as a ceramicist. The project developed into large ceramic tile panels focusing on the unique color, depth, and material phenomenology of the ceramic process including the optical and perceptive properties of different glaze combinations.
The process for producing the pieces for Wildlife Fashion Art Safari varies from piece to piece. “We both think about the material differently,” Hinterlang said. “Sometimes it’s a digital projection painted onto tiles, or sometimes each individual tile in a piece is its own separate image that we have to sculpt.”
Ceramic glazes are just one factor of how Wildlife Fashion Art Safari focuses on perception. The optical effects that can accompany color theory are another defining characteristic of this exhibit. The artists encourage viewers to experience the “after image” phenomenon created from viewing these vibrant works.
Hinterlang’s video background made him interested in experimental flicker films from the 1960s and how a rapid succession of changes in bright light tones can burn an image into the back of the eyelids as the eyes adjust. Viewers can experience this for themselves in WFAS. “I like the idea of viewing something that has a physical impact,” Hinterlang said.