Column Five asked me to create an image for their 2013 Holiday gift for clients alongside two other illustrators, David D'Andrea and Tim McDonagh.
From Column Five:
"When we began the creative process for this project, we started ruminating on our working relationships, particularly with our partners. We are deeply grateful for our partners; they are the reason we get to do what we love each day. Together, we create beautiful work, learn new things and build lasting relationships. We believe in honoring the relationships that help us succeed, which is why we ascribe to the “Be Good to Each Other” philosophy.
But being good to each other isn’t always easy. Relationship dynamics can be complicated. In some cases, conflict and frustration occur, while charity and generosity triumph in others. In ideal cases, we work together symbiotically to achieve a greater good. But always at the core is the push and pull, the struggle of compromise, the balance between collaboration and conflict, while striving to be good to each other. This was the complexity that we were eager to explore—thus it became the foundation of our concept: to showcase the evolution of relationships, from enemy, to ally, to symbiotic partner.
Because we are all ultimately animals, we turned to nature for inspiration, searching for examples of animal kingdom relationships that best represent the spectrum of these relationship dynamics. We delved into research, considering well-known animal relationships (like the age-old conflict between dog and cat) and reading about lesser-known and more unusual pairings that seem almost inconceivable. We finally settled on three unique animal relationships:
∙Red Fox & Gray Fox ∙Lioness & Baby Antelope ∙Wolf & Raven
Each of these relationships teaches us a valuable lesson about interacting together.
Once we selected our animal pairs, we searched for the perfect way to present each as a visual metaphor; the yin-yang juxtaposition immediately came to mind. Although it depicts polar opposites—light and dark, good and evil—it symbolizes the interconnectedness and interdependency of two life forces. We knew showcasing our chosen animal pairings within this yin-yang formation was the ideal way to complete the visual metaphor."
My pair was the Lioness and Baby Antelope, inspired by a real life story from Africa.
"One of the human species’ most noble traits is our ability to empathize and show compassion—key in building healthy dynamics. Beautiful examples are also evident in the animal world, even among natural-born enemies. Such is the case of a lioness in Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve who famously adopted newborn antelopes, protecting them from other animals and humans and even showing signs of grief upon their death—showing that our nature and interactions are what we make of them."