Readings From The Barometer Of Life - WORKS

[click images for a larger view]
e.T17975A123809220
[Orangutan]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T7140A12828813
[Asian Elephant]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T8005A12881238
[Hawksbill Turtle]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T15955A50659951
[Tiger]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T39994A115576640
[Eastern Gorilla]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T2477A156923585
[Blue Whale]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

e.T22823A9390963
[Polar Bear]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

ee.T19495A8925965
[Javan Rhinoceros]
Mixed media on fabric. 150 x 80 cm approx.

[Eastern Gorilla]
Plumptre, A., Robbins, M.M. & Williamson, E.A. 2019. Gorilla beringei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T39994A115576640. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T39994A115576640.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Orangutan]
Ancrenaz, M., Gumal, M., Marshall, A.J., Meijaard, E., Wich , S.A. & Husson, S. 2016. Pongo pygmaeus (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T17975A123809220. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T17975A17966347.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Javan Rhinoceros]
Ellis, S. & Talukdar, B. 2020. Rhinoceros sondaicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T19495A18493900. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T19495A18493900.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Asian Elephant]
Choudhury, A., Lahiri Choudhury, D.K., Desai, A., Duckworth, J.W., Easa, P.S., Johnsingh, A.J.T., Fernando, P., Hedges, S., Gunawardena, M., Kurt, F., Karanth, U., Lister, A., Menon, V., Riddle, H., Rübel, A. & Wikramanayake, E. (IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group). 2008. Elephas maximus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T7140A12828813. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T7140A12828813.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Hawksbill Turtle]
Mortimer, J.A & Donnelly, M. (IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group). 2008. Eretmochelys imbricata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8005A12881238. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T8005A12881238.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Blue Whale]
Cooke, J.G. 2018. Balaenoptera musculus (errata version published in 2019). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T2477A156923585. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T2477A156923585.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Polar Bear]
Wiig, Ø., Aars, J., Belikov, S.E. and Boltunov, A. 2007. Ursus maritimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T22823A9390963. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.
[Tiger]
Goodrich, J., Lynam, A., Miquelle, D., Wibisono, H., Kawanishi, K., Pattanavibool, A., Htun, S., Tempa, T., Karki, J., Jhala, Y. & Karanth, U. 2015. Panthera tigris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15955A50659951. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T15955A50659951.en. Downloaded on 20 November 2020.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life

FILM
WORKS
OVERVIEW
MODUS
READINGS FROM THE BAROMETER OF LIFE


Constructivist portraiture; the rhythms of the natural world
The ghost of deconstructed, commodified non-human 
As monolithic yarns
As warped drapery
Enumerating the same tragic narrative.

A cascading inversion of second skin
Deliberate, decomposition of a codified species
Red list
stripped of its finder
Data no longer readable; the asset broken.

The lost language of string, chords, knots.
Suspended fragments of the endangered,
that cannot be read back
essence, and raw essentia, forever lost.
An encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy.

Fabric; Twisted and tortured.
The Tailor and the Savage.
The existential threat
The construct of time.
Monumental epitaphs to The quintessence of dust.

This earth.
Tempting an audience with Lazarus
Our sixth mass extinction.
And the decline of enlightenment.
Evaporation; the essence of objects set against the nonsense of conflict.

Fragmentation of habitat
Pollution; in all its forms
Overconsumption
Overpopulation.
Toxic waste.

Ocean acidification
Environmental degradation
Material consumption
Trophy hunters.
Exploitation.


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - MODUS


An important aspect of the Readings from The Barometer of Life project was an underlying objective to produce the works with a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach.
With that in mind, it was critical that these large artworks were largely founded on recycled materials and 'eco-friendly' principles. Working on brand new canvases would be untenable - as the production of traditional cotton canvas places an unnecessarily large strain on the environment - both in terms of cotton production and treatment (‘It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton' WWF), use of wood from non-FSC approved forests, and the associated carbon footprint of transport from overseas storage warehouses.
Having established that each piece would take the form of a vertical 'tapestry', this concept was delivered to British fashion designer Paul Smith, who immediately recognised the intention; generously donating a capsule collection of varying fabrics; including tests samples, offcuts and a variety of printed materials, which were all ostensibly waste items. From these superfluous textiles the eight artworks would evolve.
As part of their Path To Sustainability, the Paul Smith company has adopted a sun symbol as a means to identify its drive towards promoting a more environment conscious fashion industry. Each product bearing this emblem has been produced using a minimum of 50% sustainable materials.
As the artworks came into being, and a variety of production methods were explored, it became apparent that an intrinsic 'rule of thumb' was affecting each subsequent production stage - Mottainai.
In February 2005 Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai visited Japan. Here she discovered an ancient ethos whose colloquial translation read as 'What a waste!'
Mottainai stems from the words mottai (勿体), which suggests an air of importance or sanctity, and nai (無い), meaning a lack of something. Subsequently, Maathai proposed that the Japanese expression "mottainai" be used as the keyword for environmental conservation throughout the world, and the MOTTAINAI Campaign began, with its resolute mantra - Reuse Reduce Recycle.
Fifteen years on, the words of Wangari Maathai - "The environment is not an issue for tomorrow. The environment is an everyday... issue." [heard on the project film] has been closely echoed by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, with her 'house on fire' speech.
Building on that conviction, Readings from The Barometer of Life was made using a number of Mottainai-centric measures (including adoption of Boro stitching techniques) - All the base materials were upcycled and reinterpreted; many of the appliances used were vintage as opposed to new; 90% of the work was conducted under daylight; all stitching was made by hand; the solvent-transfer technique adopted from Robert Rauschenberg was applied using water-based solutions (alongside similarly water-based paint pigment); the collage paperwork were primarily found materials.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - FILM

Running time: 30 mins.

WITH THANKS TO

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist, internationally recognised for challenging world leaders over their failure to address climate change.
British fashion designer, who in 2020 celebrated fifty years in business.
The IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
An Australian composer and arranger, and a soil researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Paul R. Ehrlich
An American biologist, whose 1968 best-seller 'The Population Bomb' warned of the perils of overpopulation, and the subsequent societal upheaval, and environmental deterioration.
An English primatologist and anthropologist, and one of the world's foremost experts on chimpanzees.
An international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

Additional material



Shot on a Fujifilm X-T3 using vintage Minolta lenses.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Blue Whale


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Hawksbill Turtle


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Tiger


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Javan Rhinoceros


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Polar Bear


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Asian Elephant


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Orangutan


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Eastern Gorilla


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Readings From The Barometer Of Life - Prose


Constructivist portraiture; the rhythms of the natural world
The ghost of deconstructed, commodified non-human 
As monolithic yarns
As warped drapery
Enumerating the same tragic narrative.

A cascading inversion of second skin
Deliberate, decomposition of a codified species
Red list
stripped of its finder
Data no longer readable; the asset broken.

The lost language of string, chords, knots.
Suspended fragments of the endangered,
that cannot be read back
essence, and raw essentia, forever lost.
An encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy.

Fabric; Twisted and tortured.
The Tailor and the Savage.
The existential threat
The construct of time.
Monumental epitaphs to The quintessence of dust.

This earth.
Tempting an audience with Lazarus
Our sixth mass extinction.
And the decline of enlightenment.
Evaporation; the essence of objects set against the nonsense of conflict.

Fragmentation of habitat
Pollution; in all its forms
Overconsumption
Overpopulation.
Toxic waste.

Ocean acidification
Environmental degradation
Material consumption
Trophy hunters.
Exploitation.

[FULL PROJECT IMAGES & FILM COMING SOON]

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

Panthera pardus


Spray paint and graffiti marker on recycled wood panels.
64 x 160cm

Panthera pardus is available to view at The Westbury, 57 Westbury Ave, Wood Green, London N22 6SA
Available as a bespoke artwork.



All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

A Rhino in The Herb Garden

On 4th June 2018 the enlightened pupils at North Harringay Primary School, London returned from a half-term break to discover a Rhino in the herb garden. Further exploration of the outside zones of the school uncovered a climbing Red Panda, a majestic Tiger, an enquiring Red-eyed Tree Frog, a glorious Giraffe, bending to take a drink from one of the playground’s child-proportioned water fountains, and a mature Rhino, casually chewing on a clump of fresh Oregano shoots. A mini-menagerie had magically appeared in their absence.

The five animals in this collection were chosen to introduce the children to the diversity of the animal kingdom, and more critically bring focus to the plight of those species in danger of extinction, along with the rapidly disappearing flora on which they depend. The Sixth Mass Extinction is now a recognised phenomena - this a disconcerting and destructive component of a new epoch known as the Anthropocene age - in which human activity on our planet has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment; polluting the oceans and altering the atmosphere.

This influence has set a new and different trajectory for the Earth system. As the children grow up, and in time produce families of their own, will animals painted on walls be how we remember the creatures which once existed? Will the faded paint-marks of a rhino in the herb garden suggest a visual metaphor for how human caretakers failed to co-exist?

This series of artworks were created with the generous help of the North Harringay Primary PSA, along with the assistance of staff members.

A Rhino in the Herb Garden is partly created in the memory of Sudan - the last male Northern White Rhino of his species - who passed away in March 2018.

Project limited edition prints available on request.

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A endangered species street artwork placed in a London school by artists James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon

A street artwork of Sudan the last Northern White Rhino painted in a London school by artist James Straffon





All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

A Rhino in The Herb Garden - The Movie


A Rhino in The Herb Garden
Running time: 6:18

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.