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ENDANGERED SPECIES
© 1997 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    48×30 in /
122×76 cm    $ 15,500 US
THIS PAINTING IS A
GOLDEN RECTANGLE

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 HALF  NIGHTY-NIGHT  ENDANGERED SPECIES  0=1=INFINITY ZAPATEADO  EMOTE CONTROL

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     Not every painting an artist creates is readily comprehensible. This assortment of symbols makes for some difficult interpretation. The elephant is an endangered species. Certainly, their worldwide population has dwindled to only a few thousands at most.

     But what of the other elements in this image? This is a painting of a book opened to a page which has a picture of a TV set displaying an image of an elephant doing a painting!

     This is another painting not strictly in conformity with the precepts of Hypermodern Realism. This image signifies some of my amateur prognostications. I'm no Nostradamus but, obviously, elephants will soon exist only in zoos and preserves! Sadly, this will be true of all large wild animals. Influential human earthlings never even begin to address major problems until the damage is already irreversible.

     I do not envision paper in common usage by the late 21st century, at least not as we know it today. It will be a collectors item in many of its forms, books foremost among them. With declining use of paper, common writing implements will also be disappearing. Naturally, there will be substitutes for these media, all of which are today considered "high tech," but which will come into popular use during the first quarter of this century. I doubt the cable television industry will last much longer than that, not even through associating itself with the Internet. I think it and certain related industries will be obsolete. When I envision the future, there are no power poles, wires, or lines blocking my view of the sky. They are buried or gone. Glass, I think, will alter dramatically. Looking out through a pane of window glass will not seem substantially different from the way it is experienced today, but the substance itself will probably be remarkably superior.

     The things people do have more temporal continuity than the tools they use in the doing. We will always create and communicate, but our tools will change with the era. That is not so bad, after all. What is so bad is that some of the most wonderful things we have taken for granted for so many centuries will be no more. No elephants, whales, tigers, giraffes, great apes. Go see them now, I urge you.



Detail from ENDANGERED SPECIES

     Ruby the Elephant really did paint but I didn't actually use Ruby as a model for my painting. Ruby died in 1997 at age 24. Like too many artists, she worked for peanuts. Sales of her originals and her print reproductions on t-shirts and other media helped support the large animal enclave at the Phoenix Zoo. Ruby seemed to have a sense of color. I am not sure of the scientific validity of her handlers' claims.

     Four-legged mammals are colorblind. Bulls do not really see red. Even dogs and cats see only in grayscale. This is because they have rods only and lack cones. Birds and fish see color. Insects see color. Primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans see color. I doubt that elephants see color but Ruby's color choices did seem to be closely related to her environs.

     And here again is an example of my discreet signature nestled unobtrusively into the composition of the scene.

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