‘Migration (Deer/Herons/Camels)’ consists of a set of three drawings hand-painted in black ink and white gouache on coloured paper. The illustrations are part of a series of original drawings for an artists’ book entitled ‘Migration’ that were purchased in 2007 from Wilson’s degree show exhibition at Glasgow School of Art where he studied Visual Communication. Of the Migration series this set has the most vividly coloured backgrounds, which serves to attract the viewer. The first drawing consists of eight deer in the bottom right-hand corner walking towards the left with certain areas highlighted in white gouache. Their heads are up and alert as they purposefully walk across the page. The second drawing depicts five black and white herons flying across a pale orange background. The last drawing in this set consists of six camels set against a bright yellow background. The position of the small clusters of each group draws the eye from one drawing to the next.
The simplified depictions of the animals set against backgrounds of pure colour produces a design-like effect. These techniques are used in the design of posters and similar attention-grabbing effects are produced in the Migration series. The use of blue, orange and yellow coloured paper gives the series a commercial look with the bright colours and patterns created by the moving animals and humans attracting the viewer, almost as though they are posters for migration.
In this work the title ‘Migration’ is synonymous with movement and Wilson creates this sense of movement through the use of perspective in depicting the various groups of animals. The quantity differs in each drawing but the animals are always walking together in the same direction which creates patterns and serves to draw the viewer’s eye across the paper. This also generates a feeling of unity within each species. The triggers for each of the species’ migration may differ, for instance birds migrating south for the winter, but this long-distance movement in search of new habitat occurs within many different species. By repeating the same techniques and patterns throughout each drawing and the use of a wide variety in animals, Wilson is showing how this is a natural process found in all major animal groups.
Kenneth Wilson studied Visual Communication at Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 2007.