Chris Maynard works solely with feathers. With a background in both biology and art, he combines science and beauty in his feather shadowbox creations. See more of his amazing work by visiting his website.
He began by photographing feathers for five years before deciding to incorporate the feathers themselves into his art in 2010.
His first show drew word of mouth crowds at the biennial Olympia Arts walk in the fall of 2010. Since then, he has shown in the Northwest in many venues, went to part-time in his ‘other’ job as a biologist, and has won increasing recognition in conjunction with press articles and sales of his work throughout the country.
Chris’ unique work was picked up by the online media in Europe in late 2012, where it went viral, then around the world, then in the USA in early 2013. During this time his feather work was featured on the front page of Reddit, the Huffington Post , MSN, and many other online news and blogs. Microsoft Themes picked up his work in November 2012 and since that time has been downloaded on over a million computers as screensavers.
In 2012, one of Chris’ pieces was selected for the international Birds in Art to be displayed at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin.
Currently Chris has a three month waiting period for new commissions. The latest completed commissions went to the City of Olympia after a juried public art request, and to choreographer Paul Taylor as an Award for his achievement in dance. He is also working on four children’s books.
In addition to creating feather shadowboxes, Chris is exploring using feathers as installations in homes, businesses, events, and museums. He is working with Janice Arnold (Smithsonian, Houston Art Museum) on a collaborative feather-felt show.
My work shows feathers in new ways. I cut and arrange them, keeping their three-dimensional shapes. This gives me the opportunity to work with light and shadows.
When I conceive a piece, I think about the birds and I ponder feathers: flight, warmth, growth, transformation, protection, pattern, and beauty.
Feathers speak across genders, ages, and cultures. And yet they vary in the meanings they impart according to cultural and personal experience. Each of my pieces has an interesting story behind it courtesy of the feathers, the birds that grow and shed them, observations of the birds, and personal interactions with people associated with the feathers.
The pieces are sturdy and durable while retaining a delicate appearance. I am scrupulous about using only feathers that are legal to sell in this country. Most come as naturally shed feathers from private aviaries and zoos.
I use eye surgery tools to make the detailed cuts and hold the feathers. I see the tiny details by looking through 10 powered magnifying glasses.
In addition to making shadowboxes, I am currently working on a several-year large museum installation project and working with a book designer and New York agent on several children’s books featuring the feather work.