Animal Attitude

As part of planning my thesis show I am creating gesture studies of different prehistoric mammals to help me decide which to use as subjects.

This process starts with sketching particular animals in different gestures. I often base these gestures on observing modern day animals and drawing from life at zoos and natural history museums.


Asian Elephant drinking at the San Diego Zoo


From these sketches and reference images I practice the proportions and musculature of each animal while investigating different expressions in gestures. These are very quick, timed studies that are made solid and then carved and refined once the clay has stiffened.


Ground Sloth Skeleton at the San Diego Natural History Museum


These gestures and animals lead to ideas for ways to introduce a human object. Here are some gesture and expression studies for this piece which features a semi-aquatic sloth enjoying a rococo style bath tub.


These maquettes are sometimes larger and more detailed. This allows me to get an idea  of how I might build a larger version and allows for plans to scale up the gesture.


I often make larger studies of an animal’s head to work out different facial expressions and the gaze of the animal.


I am specifically choosing to work with animals that have very strange features. I find that this increases the viewer’s curiosity about the animal. These features also speak to the animals’ amazing ability to evolve and adapt. Sivatherium is a prehistoric giraffe that exhibits the evolution of the long neck over millions of years.


The Evolution of the Giraffe


About Ariel Bowman

I grew up in Dallas, Texas where I learned to love nature, animals, and art. I graduated with a BFA in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2011. I am currently working towards my MFA in ceramics at the University of Florida. This blog serves as a way for my friends and family, as well as anyone interested in my work, to view not only the finished pieces, but some of the process as well. You can subscribe to this blog to keep up to date on what I am currently working on in the studio, research, new sources, and exhibitions.
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