After stumbling across and subsequently falling in love with these mythical, almost primitive drawings, I approached the artist, Kelly Rae Burns, about allowing me to share them with my readers. Burns’ 2010 “Plants and Animals” series seems straight forward enough on the surface, but with each viewing I had more and more questions . Luckily, not only was Burns gracious enough to let me feature her work, she was even able to answer a few of these burning questions for me, which I am excited to share here.
PP: What was the concept or inspiration behind this series?
Burns: I have always felt that the things we see in nature affect our lives. They imprint us with a knowledge that we cannot simply understand through books. The Plants and Animals series was created based on that sentiment.
PP: Why did you choose the plants you did?
Burns: Each animal and each plant are ones I have seen in the flesh and the experience of seeing them effects the drawing. The Eucalyptus drawing takes me back to my visit to Australia where the smell of eucalyptus was everywhere. It was incredibly intoxicating. The deer was chosen because it is something I have grown up seeing in Texas my whole life. Together they weave a kinship. The deer is a symbol of home and the eucalyptus is a symbol of when my artwork started to come together.
PP: What is significant about the plants emerging from each animal?
Burns: The plants emerge from the animals because in my mind they belong to each other. Nature imprints itself on us as we imprint ourselves on nature. Even though we try to separate ourselves from the natural world we are in fact very much part of it – birth, life and death belong to us all.
What a great sentiment, am I right? That’s very much in line with the purpose behind Plant Propaganda – the thought that we are all inextricably entangled with the natural world, and devotion to sharing how we experience that entanglement, be it through cuisine, writing, gardening, music or, of course, art.
All photos and artwork © Kelly Rae Burns.