Robert Burden‘s latest, massive oil painting “Elephantidae” is the result of 18 months of work. The painting shows Billy, the iconic Asian elephant whose life at the LA Zoo has been the center of controversy, surrounded by more than 50 toys related to his species.
“I think this series of wildlife paintings are sort of an acknowledgment of [the] juxtaposition between the artificially cute/hyper-menacing depictions that these animals receive in our entertainment, and the overwhelming majesty and fragility of what they really are,” the artist says. “I love the toys, and I love the entertainment industry, but it also represents my shallow detachment from the real world, especially the ‘wild’ part of it that continues to shrink. Zoos aren’t perfect, but they can give the public a way to experience that very real majesty.”
See more of his recent work below.