Art @Tilton: Birds & Desserts

June 3 – July 28, during library open hours

In 1830, with watercolors, pastels, pen & ink, and gouache, John James Audubon set out to paint every bird in America. Eighteen years later, his monumental effort resulted in the massive tome, Birds of America consisting of 435 life-size, hand-colored prints. In 2010, an original 4-volume edition of Birds of America fetched $11.5 million at Sotheby’s, the record for the most expensive printed book sold at auction.

In 2012, illustrator, Edgar Allan Slothman (Don Carter) set out with an Apple computer to reinterpret Audubon’s Birds of America in his own simplified, graphic style.

“For each print, I look for ways to break it down in a unique way. Often it is with geometric simplification or repeat patterns. For some, I create an entirely new color palette pushing beyond the original as far as I can. But in all, I stay very close to Audubon’s original composition — the core of these amazing ornithological visual stories.”

In 2021, Don met baker turned watercolorist, Dora Dylanne Reyes. A friendship and mutual interest in each other’s art led to a very unique collaboration and pairing — birds and desserts.

“I was working on a Florida Cormorant and was just about to put a fish in his mouth when Dora suggested something a little more interesting … a piece of black forest cheesecake. To the ornithological purist in me it made no sense at all, but it looked absolutely amazing. From there, the birds and desserts series took off.”

The collaboration eventually became a true artistic partnership. Don would create the birds and Dora would create the deserts. In 2021, Birds and Their Just Desserts / Let Them Eat Cake brought their work together in its first public exhibition. The series has since grown and continues to be exhibited and sold in Connecticut and Massachusetts.