The Home Economy Revisited
What are these prints about? I get that question a lot. And it’s a good question, too. What’s that weird zombie-thing that your wife is looking at? Are you eating that raccoon? What is coming out of her forehead? What in the world does “The Home Economy” even mean anyway? Give me a few minutes and I’ll try to answer a couple of these.
The short answer to the first question is that they are about my life. My family and work life in particular. Where one of these lives ends and the other begins is pretty blurry sometimes. I spend a great deal of time teaching about what I love to do. I love to make artwork. When I’m not doing it, I’m often thinking about doing it. Of course making artwork hasn’t really paid the bills over the years; or at least not most of them. So I teach studio art and at least get to be in my field or closer to my field a lot more than if I worked a 9-5 and then pretended that I would “do my art” in my “spare” time. (If that’s what you do, then hats off to you! I couldn’t make that work. I had a drawing professor in college constantly tell us that in 5 years only 10% of you will still be making art; 5 years after that, only 10% of those would still be making art. Or something along those lines. It’s been 17 years and I’m still going, so I guess I beat the odds.)
My life is also filled with chickens. I love those birds. I don’t know why, but they are really, really cool to have around. I like watching them and raising them. I like getting new ones and watching them fit into the flock. I like to eat their eggs. I like to eat them when the time comes. The thing is, my chickens aren’t pets; they’re livestock. Livestock that I care for very much, but still, they have a purpose in our home economy. In the meantime, I give them a very good home, full of the outdoor life: sunshine, bugs, weeds, lizards, bugs, toads, bugs, kitchen scraps, and… predators. That last part may not be a part of the good life, but it is part of real life for my chickens. They may not like it, but I can’t (and don’t want to) exterminate all the hostile animals in the neighborhood. In fact, the roosters are very well equipped to take care of their girls. They seem to revel in their role of protector. They excell at sounding the alarm and even fighting if need be. None of my roosters have had to yet, but it’s not uncommon for a rooster to fight a predator to the death if it will give his hens a chance to escape.
I promised you more in this post, but I find that I have more to say than I strictly have room for! I’ll be back with more imagery, more explanations, more obfuscations and more poultry next time…