In 1998 I decided to apply for the following year’s residency at Edinburgh Zoo. My second son, Jude, had been born only months before and I wanted to try something different; I imagined I could take him along with me when I was drawing. We chose to spend most of the winter months with the pygmy hippos as their enclosure was permanently warm. A highlight was having after hours access, with my six year old son, Jack, as companion. The zoo was a different place in the dark. Slithering our way round on unlit icy paths we knew we would be easy prey for an imaginary escaped lion!
In spring when the sun came out, I became interested in the patterns of the bars, reflections on glass enclosures and, in particular, the shadows cast by the sun – as illustrated in ‘ Target’. As I explored the enclosed world of the zoo, I found I could not separate, in any visual sense, the animals from their man-made environment. And I remain puzzled. Does the zoo provide a privileged insight of a world most of us can’t visit? Or is it the ultimate voyeurism?