APE DRAWING PROJECT - Jen Bradley

In 1993, I began routine visits to draw Western Lowland Gorillas at Zoo New England's Franklin Park Zoo in Boston with an open curiosity about apes, ape behavior and simply a desire to draw from life. I sit  at the gorilla habitat for the day with 22”x 30” paper and charcoal for a minimum of 4 hours.  The habitual practice of drawing these gorillas at the zoo has come to serve as a ritual or an act of worship for me. It has been my practice for 28 years. I refer to it as The Ape Drawing Project.

Certain paintings represent a recognizable likeness to a specific gorilla or reflect an individual personality. The gorillas feel so familiar; I see parts of myself in them.

My experience drawing and the zoo setting is particularly important because it is the inspiration and source for all my art; I observe more than the gorillas. As I draw, I am a silent observer of the zoo visitors and often they observe me as if I am another ape on exhibit. It adds an important sociological component; the zoo experience as a metaphor to discuss larger cultural ideas including animal nature versus human nature, my self-conscious attention to class, the concept of observation as entertainment.

PAINTINGS FOR SALE
apedrawingproject.com/section/481054-Pa…

JEN DRAWING THE GORILLAS AT FRANKLIN PARK ZOO
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev1HwlsL7TA

NEW YORK TIMES - Exhibition at Mary Heaton Vorse House, Provincetown
www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/arts/design/…

THE WOVEN TALE PRESS - Jen Bradley Interview
www.thewoventalepress.net/2019/08/27/je…

BOSTON UNIVERSITY - JEN BRADLEY VISITING ARTIST - Interview and Video
bunewsservice.com/jen-bradley-artist-dr…
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXj5f3HQVis

APE DRAWING PROJECT FILM - Humans at the Zoo by Kate Common www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-bxy2P3llw

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EMAIL: apedrawingproject@gmail.com