The American painter Walton Ford (b. 1960) is classic in his mastery of the figurative material and the artistic techniques that otherwise belong to a vanished era. His preferred media are watercolours and gouache on paper, techniques he applies in very large, almost life-size renderings of fable-like narratives in which animals play the leading roles.
As a contemporary artist, Ford is particularly inspired by his fellow American John James Audubon (1785-1851), whose standard work Birds of America a collection of large pictures and texts showing more than 435 different birds represented in minutely detailed colour prints stands to this day as the most comprehensive artistic project of its kind.
Walton Ford's unique pictures give new twists to the tradition in several ways: In his illusionistic pictorial universe, where every single patch of fading and apparent damage or spot is calculated, the animals get to answer back. They see us just as much as we see them. And although the unbridgeable differences between species and the objective cruelty of nature are part of the point of the pictures, deepest down they are about ourselves.