Artist Chris Maynard creates tiny ethereal designs on feathers. His process begins by collecting feathers of birds (usually not of North America descent) from aviaries and zoos. He uses delicate, detail oriented tools such as eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses that have been passed down to him through his family. With these tools, he is able to achieve intimate levels of detail, crafting miniaturized fantastical avian worlds. His uses his work to transform the ordinary into something surreal and perhaps a bit magical. He explains that he would like the viewer
“to take away being able to look at the world in a different way…I want people to be able to take a breath and look at something a little differently, something that they know. Feathers are a universal symbol. Feathers for different people will mean different things, but generally, it means flight, it can mean escape, something we want to strive for, a bridge between here and the heavens. I want people to take their own message from it, but I think what comes out are some of those themes.”
The original integrity of the feathers is important to the artist. He does not manipulate the color or over arching shape with the aim to “honor the birds and the feathers.” Maynard, having a strong background in biology and ecology, has published a book titled Feathers: Form & Function. He uses his work not only to express artistic notions but also explains origin and function of his material. Each work is intricate, delicate, and whimsical.