Lyell Castonguay’s woodblock prints invoke disparate influences including Japanese ukiyo-e, the naturalist works of Audubon and Buffon, and traditional Chinese brush paintings. The artist contextualizes the natural world through the filter of his imagination. Castonguay’s paracosm is filled with familiar animals made beholden with human emotions such as tension, conflict, restlessness, and uncertainty. These bold personalities are seemingly at odds with each subject’s intrinsic wildness. The artist’s distorted narratives often incorporate covert references to environmental decline, natural resource commodification, and displacement.
"As a pet owner and birder, I observe distinct personalities in my avian subjects. It is because they are such complex creatures that I choose to anthropomorphize them. The color and patterning of their plumage combined with their transient way of life inspires me to illustrate their forms in both figurative and abstract compositions."