January 25, 2010

Meet the ESPP Artist: Matt Adrian /The Mincing Mockingbird


For those who aren't familiar with Etsy super star Matt Adrian he paints rather lovely birds under the moniker The Mincing Mockingbird. Matt created the ESPP print of the Madagascar Fish Eagle to support The Peregrine Fund. ESPP wanted to learn more about the man behind the mockingbird. Here is what Molly found out:

So Matt, you are actually a human? Because I am imaging you as a yellow finch or something...

Did someone tell you about my finch-suit? Because it's not ready yet. Soon.


The Mincing Mockingbird
I Have Seen the Interiors of Cloud Formations that Make Your Cathedrals Look Like Wal-Marts


The birds in your work have a lot of personality- conveyed both through paint and text. You title your paintings to read as quotes from the bird depicted. It's a great hook and expands our pre-conceived ideas of what non-humans might be thinking about. Do you know any birds personally? As companion animals, etc? How did these characters develop?
The titles came about in a pretty boring way - when I was listing my paintings for sale online, the titles were pretty bland - "Blue Bird With Orange Background" for instance - and it just kind of came to me to start writing more interesting titles. Sometimes the bird might inspire the title, but other times it's just my kind of view of the world. Sometimes I'm drunk and the string of words makes me giggle.

I've never owned any birds, mostly because I don't like being bitten by things that I'm responsible for. Also, as far as animals go, they're quite insane, with those rictus grins and reptile eyes.



The Mincing Mockingbird
Sinister Acts to Which Only the Moon Bears Witness

In recent years science has uncovered evolutionary connections between dinosaurs and modern-day birds. Way back when I was interning at the Smithsonian this subject was debated with heated passion. I remember one ornithologist who was completely against the notion. Any strong opinions on this topic? Or observations?

It's funny you bring that up, because I think I made my way into birds through an interest in dinosaurs. I'm a dino-nut from way back, and was able to spell and pronounce "Parasaurolophus walkei" almost before "cat" and "dog."

I'm extremely interested in bird evolution and am wholeheartedly convinced birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs, and I think the exciting finds in China will continue to fill in the evolutionary backstory. There was a bird-like dinosaur called Oviraptor, which means "egg thief," named because it was found near a clutch of what were thought to be Protoceratops eggs. Turns out it was a nest of Oviraptor eggs - the animal wasn't stealing the eggs, it was brooding, like a chicken. Science is cool.

Do you love all birds equally? Or does any one animal, plant, or mineral hold a special place in your heart?

I think they're all pretty fantastic. Before I really noticed birds, I mean really noticed them, they were kind of in the background, almost biological static really. And I think that speaks to their amazing success in filling just about every niche across the globe. That being said, it's also important to realize the impact humans have on that success - like that of the passenger pigeon. Spectacularly successful bird - numbering in the billions - but by the middle of the 1800's we'd turned the forests of nut-bearing trees into farmland, and then systematically went about mopping them up until they were extinct. The passenger pigeon gets a lot of press because of the sheer numbers of animals that were killed, but humans are doing it to other species across the globe, either through deforestation or direct action, and that's pretty concerning.


The Mincing Mockingbird
He Thinks My Sudden and Terrifying Mood Swings are Kinda Cute

Any upcoming shows or projects you'd like our readers to know about?
I've got some new pieces in a show at Nahcotta gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampsire in February and currently I'm the featured artist in a bird art show at Cactus gallery in L.A.


The Mincing Mockingbird is an L.A. based artist. More of his work can be seen on his website.
To see the Mincing Mockingbird's print for ESPP go here.

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