How many times have you misspelled “desert” as “dessert”? Do you confuse the dry, arid land with a mouthwatering, tasty treat?
Will Eskridge, self-proclaimed animal and artist, invites viewers to delve into a comical, vibrant scene playing on the homophones. The Athens-based painter’s newest series, “Desserted Deserts,” reflects upon the deserts he frequented throughout his adolescence alongside his veterinarian father.
The majority of Eskridge’s portfolio involves animals, which he has had an affinity for since childhood. However, instead of drawing society’s quintessential beloved pets, he intends for his art to “give beauty” to those who are “deemed ugly.”
The raccoon, bats and opossum featured in this series are starkly juxtaposed with the sugary treats flying overhead. Where these outcast animals typically elicit a negative reaction, they are given a newfound charm with their sweet pairings.
Eskridge’s art honors widely stigmatized beings of nature, but his empathy extends further than just animals as he commemorates the recently discontinued ice cream treat “Choco Taco” in his series.
The artist reveals that perhaps the misfits of the world can be beautiful, too, incorporating his personal motto into all of his work: “For those who can not speak, I give a voice. For those who are deemed ugly, I give beauty. For those who are forgotten, I give remembrance.”
This series in particular serves as a representation of his sense of humor as well as his compassion. It compels viewers to look at ostracized animals from a different, kinder perspective, which is Eskridge’s ultimate objective.
Experience it yourself: Eskridge’s work can be seen on his website, willeskridge.com, Instagram, @willeskridgeart, and around Athens. “Desserted Deserts” will be live on his website and displayed in his studio on May 6.