Foundations – Biomorphic Animal


Bristol Board, Graphite, 11″x14″

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo Abelii) lives in the rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the world’s largest tree-living mammal, spending nearly it’s entire life above the ground. It’s long arms and large, hand-like feet make it very graceful traveling between branches. However, it is also very slow, since the Orangutan’s weight can easily cause too much strain for weaker branches. Considering how much time is spent in the tree-tops, it is understandable that fruits bear the majority of the Orangutan’s diet. 

Sumatran Orangutans are considered critically endangered, and while hunting remains a serious issue for the species, habitat loss is the most widespread and threatening concern. Indonesian rainforests are frequently cleared with fire to make room for agricultural plantations, which is particularly bad news for these great apes since they do not possess the speed required to flee. Those who are not outright burned to death face rapidly shrinking habitats, and fewer areas to feed.

In order to help protect this creature from extinction, I included a robotic, tree-like appendage which produces fruits for Orangutans to eat. This ensures a constant food supply, which will become increasingly important as fruit-bearing trees become less common. Through genetic manipulation, this appendage produces fruits at a much faster rate than their natural counterparts. Since food has become less of an issue, Orangutans would be more able to raise young, thus encouraging the survival of the species.

Concerning the critique, this work could benefit from having more mechanical trees that appear on the backs of the other two orangutans, which would make use of the large amount of negative space on the upper left side of the composition. Atmospheric perspective was not included, although it would have made a significant improvement if it were.

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