Wild By Art Asher JAy

Every individual arrives upon a primary question, and it propels them on a life long quest in search of its answer. This inquiry begins at an early age, and haunts them until the moment of enlightenment or death. I have articulated my question in many ways but it wasn't until I turned 16 that I had the vocabulary to truly ask it -- "How can I reach a state of oneness?" Everything I do aspires to translate degrees of separation into degrees of connection.

Same Same But Different ©Asher Jay 2015

It’s weird to admit, you don’t belong to a place, that you feel connected to all life on earth all the time, that you can be born somewhere and not have it define you in anyway, that you can be raised by the world at large, where every place, person, action and thought has come to undo you from the boxes that society tries to bind you within… but that is my story. My dad used to say, it wasn’t hard to parent me, because all it took to raise me was sunshine, water and dirt, but my mom maintains I was raised by wolves… perhaps that had something to do with my walking on all fours with my first sibling, a fluffy white Spitz by the name of Leander. I ascended the evolutionary tree over the course of my childhood, from T-Rex, to bat, to chimp. My family never told me otherwise, so I had the freedom to be, to breathe, without boundaries. It wasn’t until my Kindergarten teacher told me that I couldn’t bond with my classmates by grooming them, that I first realized I was human. That was incredibly disappointing to learn, but my mom was quick to assure me, that I could be chimp or bat whenever I felt like it, that the wild was where I came from, much like everyone else, but that most others had lost this ability to recall and relive their animal ancestry. I was encouraged to let the wild within extend into the wild beyond. However, for those who care about geographical locations, I was born in India, and I owe who I am, to England, several countries in Europe, to family, friends, to Africa’s unbridled wilderness and an aggressive love affair with the filthy yet fabulous New York City.

Co-Exist ©Asher Jay 2015

Storytelling has been my conduit to communicating, restoring, celebrating and promoting unity. A good story not only evolves an individual's understanding of the world around them but inspires them to continue assimilating and augmenting the world external as an extension of his or her internal landscape. Stories capable of stretching the elastic canvas of reality by taking pause on possibilities are the most powerful of all, because they highlight how individuals can have impact by diffusing hope into happening. The need to push past the known, to gain audience with the unexplored, is the innate curiosity that nurtures growth and change in us all. I nurture this change in others by portraying the shifts I experienced within myself when I grew more aware. In conveying content conceptually through intentionally layering and aligning data in a non-linear sequence, I empower viewers to not only imbibe information but take ownership of it. When a problem is owned it can be solved. Every thing I generate is designed to cultivate empathy for the environment incidentally; it allows people to find their own stance on the topics deliberated, instead of spoon-feeding conclusions at a pace out of sync with their interest or learning curve.

Deep Rooted Truths ©Asher Jay 2015

I appreciate life no matter the form it has found expression in, and I feel tethered to and responsible for all life on earth.

Asystole ©Asher Jay 2015

To me, protecting wilderness areas and the biodiversity it sustains is to ensure the holistic survival of all life on earth. Human lives and activities are inextricably tied into the fate of the natural world, our economy and health both orbit the resources this planet has made available to us. To destroy this capital reserve is to destroy ourselves. Every work of art I care to create embodies my conviction to secure a wild future for us all. Wild is an implicit part of our biological and evolutionary development, yet in the name of "progress" we have routinely amputated ourselves from our own lineage. This paradigm has done us more harm than good. Much of what I care to highlight through my chimerical visual narratives is this disassociation, and the need for us to revive the life links we have destroyed through our apathy, avarice and ignorance.

Discovery to Demise ©Asher Jay 2015

The story of being human includes the story of the universe, the earth, the single-celled life forms that burgeoned in the primordial soup, the dinosaurs, the mass extinctions, all the way to the dwindling count of rhinos, tigers and tuna in the present day. We are all-encompassing, for within us we hold all the problems, all the solutions and all of life, we are not separate from any of it, and every time we destroy something we deem discrete from us, we kill a part of ourselves. I have always wondered why I hurt to a paralyzing degree when I read about by-catch, incidents of poaching, or mass strandings; it is because a part of me dies with each of those losses, and selfishly I mourn for me. We need to want to live, and live well, which means all that existed and evolved to deliver us to our upright stance needs to survive, because we really are that immense. For instance, when we speak of conserving whale populations, what is implied is the conservation of every life form that defines a whale’s life-cycle and habitat. Similarly, human beings are so much bigger than they are aware of, our life cycles overlap with every single organism on this planet, which is why our impact radius is so pronounced; it is why we can cause large scale catastrophes and build the majestic pyramids. This is why wildlife conservation and sustainable development matters to me; by conserving them I preserve myself, by ensuring we develop in ways that include the collective I nourish my whole self. I always zoom out to include everything before I zoom in on a specific subject or issue. In the end, we are all versatile, and capable of accomplishing astonishing feats, but none of that will matter if we do not know how inclusive we can be. If we need science, religious texts, and/or pie charts to educate us in the ways of coexistence, then we are not as intelligent as we pride ourselves to be. We need to register that all life matters and should be treated with respect, compassion, and gratitude, but most importantly, we need to realize we hold within us, all LIFE.

Next Step in Human Evolution ©Asher Jay 2015

So it should come as no surprise that over the years I have come to be known for using groundbreaking design, multimedia arts, literature, and lectures to inspire global efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, advance environmental issues, and elevate humanitarian causes. My cause-driven art, sculpture, design installations, films, and advocacy advertising campaigns bring attention to everything from oil spills and plastic pollution to climate change and women's rights. The unique power of art is that it can transcend differences, resonate with people on a visceral level, and compel action.

Express Yourself ©Asher Jay 2015

I express myself through art, because it is the oldest universal language available to me; it is as inherent to me as the wild. The wild is where I, we, come from. Art is how we interpret the world around us. Wild and art, both transcend tenses, they were a part of our past, they are an extensive part of our present and they should both be preserved as part of our future. Art’s ability to touch all of the senses, evoke authentic emotion and galvanize the masses from being passive victims of a failing system to active proponents of a transforming paradigm is why I rely on it as my weapon of choice. While art is the most effective way to disseminate stories about wildlife conservation, conserving wildlife is the most effective way to protect and build on our human story and the story of life on this fragile biosphere.

Take Pride ©Asher Jay 2015

When people experience my work, I want them to stop and think and ask themselves questions until they get to a place where they know how they feel about an issue – endangered species or pollution or illegal ivory trade. Obviously, I am hoping to inspire others to take action in whatever way they can to be part of the solution to the problems of the wild, which affect us all. Not every work is going to get every person who sees it to become involved. However, at least by getting these messages out to the public, there will be greater awareness and the ability for people to make a conscious decision – to become involved in the crises facing our planet or not. To re-establish their primal connection to the earth or not. When people are informed, they can no longer use “not knowing” as an excuse for not getting involved in the problems that threaten the entire human race. They have to accept the responsibility of making a choice – to improve the world or to turn their back on the planet, which will either foster human survival or human extinction.

Record of Energy Evolution ©Asher Jay 2015

I don’t really choose causes, causes choose me. Caring about extinction, caring about pollution, caring about human trafficking, caring about women’s empowerment, is not a choice. For any compassionate, connected person, it is impossible not to feel compelled to contribute and be an instrument of change.

All Hands on Deck ©Asher Jay 2015

Ultimately all my campaigns aim to motivate the one person I believe holds the real power to determine nature’s fate and consequently humanity's fate as well... You.

Stippled Scars ©Asher Jay 2015
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