Jason Holley
The Thing with Feathers
Outside Magazine

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a.k.a. “the lord-god-king-bird” is the largest
of its species and is thought to be extinct. It is a massive 2 foot tall bird
with a 3-foot wingspan, whose rarity and beauty proved too irresistible to
hunters who blasted them out of existence as fast as they could find them.
By the mid 1960’s they were becoming harder and harder to find and
assumed to be gone for good. But when stories of a giant woodpecker and
a 3-second-long video of an alleged IBW emerged from an Arkansas swamp,
the hunt was back on—this time lead by scientists, camera crews and
hardcore birders. The swamp was a tiny sliver of habitat where a tiny sliver
of hope existed for the survival of this animal. In the painting, I wanted to
create a sense of mystery but also isolation and compression. Is he being
spotted or is he being excised from his environment? It’s unclear. To me,
the white border looks like it was drawn by the clumsy hand of a man who
foolishly thinks that nature gives two shits about his desires or his apologies.