When a murder was reported in my hometown of Nampa, Idaho, I was quite concerned. Newspaper headlines described the event as an invasion. I learned that a convention of crows had arrived, hanging out at night in large, loud groups, and no one knew why. On my way to my local coffee shop, I was confronted by a neighbor who complained that all the sidewalks and cars were a mess. To this person, this encounter was too close. Not only unattractive, and inconvenient but a criminal conspiracy!

Little did I realize then that the phenomenon of crows roosting in my town was the beginning of a long-term art project. I would create worlds for these birds to exist within to promote a dialogue: how we treat nature, how we share our planet, how our knowledge forms our belief systems, and how they provide opportunities to integrate the otherworldly nature of magic, myth, superstitions, folklore, customs, and culture into our lives.

When I first witnessed the gathering of so many creatures raucously settling in on trees, branches, rooftops, antennas, and wires, and experiencing the hysterical cacophony of their caws, I was compelled to make some pictures. What began as dramatic photographs of crows became a study of myself. I created complex images which required a closer look, encouraged a deep dive into the subconscious, and opened the storytelling aspect of my work as transcendental and magical themes.

With the onset of Covid, my devotion to the process became more intense, and the images more existential and mystical. I realized that for me these crows are my barometer of the challenges we face as a society, including political polarization, respect for the planet, and understanding of the connections of all threads of life.

As I posted crow images to social media, my audience shared their stories and their beliefs. Unlike my town's annoyance with the birds, they articulated scientific facts (such as crows’ intelligence and ability to use tools), and folklorebased stories of cultures and societies that embrace the crows as spirits. My efforts since have been to depict these creatures as magical and existential. You can decide if the crows are a blessing or curse. In addition, the ordeal of deep personal loss last year influences the self-portrait images, with shadows and isolated metaphors.

The tendency of being for or against, pro or con, right or wrong regarding political matters is common nowadays. This extremism does not facilitate coexistence. We need to learn from each other and understand how we are connected. There is more to life than the physical world, there is an existential domain which, for me, the crows represent. They are spirits. Greek mythology maintains that crows traveled between the visible and invisible. Crows are a connection to history, myths, folklore, and belief systems, their presence deeper than mere facts or studies.

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