I started trying to find out any information about the artist that I could. He had been featured in Men's Vogue Fall 2005. Here is a beautiful photograph taken for the article by Martin Schoeller.
Walton Ford also has a book titled Pancha Tantra. The name being a reference to the ancient Indian animal mythology believed to be a precursor to Aesop's Fables. Walton Ford's work is steeped in layers of history. His work is very obviously and intentionally influenced by great masters of the past such as John James Audubon, whom he regularly features as a figure in his paintings to George Catlin. He follows in their traditions in the style of painting as well as in the method and lifestyle, by using the great outdoors as his source of inspiration. As noted in the Vogue article he regularly makes the 80 mile walk from his home in the Berkshires to Vermont to meet with his printer!! The printer he meets with makes prints of his original pieces so that they can be more affordable when one cannot shell out the 30,000 plus dollars for an original! His work is visually and meaningfully complex and the watercolors are meticulously painted. I love how at first glance the watercolors appear to be old and classic biological paintings but upon closer inspection they are often twisted and dark. Here are a few to feast your eyes on:
And here is an image from the Paul Kasmin Gallery that shows the works in person so you can really get a sense of the scale, incredible!
My only regret is not being able to see the works in person. His new works are currently on exhibit at the Paul Kasmin Gallery until December 23rd. If anyone is New York between now and then and gets to check it out let me know how it was!