Travel the world and you’re bound to notice chicken or eggs on a menu, a rooster crowing or walking alongside a road.
Few people realize the prominence of the mere chicken.
Chickens are the most prevalent species of bird in the world and play a role in nearly every major culture, be it cockfighting or dining. There are actually more chickens on earth than there are people.
I didn’t realize that until I started traveling outside the continental United States where chickens are housed on farms and most people see them in the poultry section of a grocery store.
In 2004 while on a photo shoot on Grand Cayman, my wife and I watched in fascination as chickens roamed freely around houses, roads and fields of the brightly colored tropic island. We purchased a brilliantly colored chicken carved from Jamaican cedar. It still reminds us of that shoot.
I painted a rooster piece inspired by that trip and the bright, happy colors my wife and I surround ourselves with in our home.
We later traveled to Hawaii and witnessed the same phenomena – chickens and roosters everywhere. It inspired a painting of rooster on a beach, patterned by what I saw in Kauai.
A trip to my wife’s aunt’s ranch in eastern Montana prompted even more.
A whimsical, cockeyed style was hatched – roosters and chickens painted in bright colors designed to make people happy or like us, remind them of a place they have visited or a time they cherished.