Four Questions with Ashley Tudor, Huntress and Artist
I’m an avid outdoorswoman. I love to go where trails don’t. I am a climber, ultra-runner and adventurer. In the beginning, I took up hunting to attain healthy pastured meat; but fell in love with the sport for the athleticism, skill, and time in the outdoors that required presence.
This bronze series was inspired by a trophy elk I harvested in the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho a couple of years ago. We hunted hard for two weeks walking up to 15 miles a day in rough terrain. After my brother spotted this magical creature, we stalked it for three days. Hunting in the wilderness is hard work. You just don’t show up and shoot. It is an art form itself that takes time, patience, skill, know how, and luck.
This elk was one of the largest animals taken from the remote area. It was my first big game hunt and a sacred experience with family and friends. I knew I wanted to do something special with it. But European mounts haven’t changed in a hundreds of years. I wanted a mount to be as comfortable in my city loft as in a ranch house. So I set about creating a piece that would be as special as the experience and would honor this majestic animal that fed me, my family, and friends for a year. This elk inspired the bronze European mount series that I am now doing.
2. What is it about hunting artwork that inspires you?
This series sits at the intersection of my passions, clean design, health and nutrition, love for the outdoors, and care for our fragile planet. For someone seeing the piece for the first time, they just see something they pretty. When I look at this piece, I am reminded of the need to work with nature in all things to create the best outcome.
3. You have written books and articles on diet, how does hunting and wild game fit within your dietary beliefs?
This art starts with food. If you care about health, you care about food. If you care about food, you care about taste, if you care about taste you care about the quality of nutrition for plants, animals and fish, and if you care about quality nutrition– you care about the planet, health of ecosystems and being good stewards of land and sea.
4. What are your hunting plans for this year?
My plan is to hunt as much as possible. Upland game, turkey, deer and elk are all the books this year. I am really looking forward to getting out as much as possible and spending chunks of time in the outdoors.
About the Artist
Ashley Tudor is a San Francisco-based artist. Her “Trophies” series explores the intersection of the natural world and the human role in it. Her primary medium is sculpture and mixed media. Ashley is an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and field to table chef. She loves any excuse to get into the mountains, valleys, and fields, especially to search out her own food. She is formally trained at Dartmouth College and has lectured at the California College of the Art, IDSA, and Stanford University.
Civilized life has become too tame. In our comfort it is easy to be detached from the natural world. Food arrives at our table with little thought to its origin or life. The natural world has been sanitized, manicured, and separated from emotion. One forgets that our existence comes from the creative destruction of other life.
Life in nature brings us back to the realization of our fragile place. Most trophies are a reminder of man’s dominance over nature. This series seeks to emphasize man’s collaboration with nature. All victory comes at a cost. Any triumph is always temporary. Nature gives and takes. It is the hope that man and nature are co-creators in something that is more beautiful, lasting, and ultimately magnifies both.
The reflective nature of the sculpted skull reflects light. The reflected light is a constant reminder of our human obligation to magnify what we have been given into something nobler. The natural horns juxtaposed with a refined skull symbolize the ideal of man working in harmony with nature. As the nature of the skull ages and patinas, we are reminded that harmony is not a destination but a balance that must be constantly sought.