Artist's Statement

About Pika Works

Artist's Statement 2007 Go to statement pdf

Detail from Sea Flowers by Joan MacKenzie

The Artist and the Pikas
Joan MacKenzie is a self-taught artist whose love for shy pikas and bold colors forced her to learn to paint. Animals have fascinated her since childhood when she'd line up her stuffed friends at the top of the bed and then snuggle around them to find room to sleep.

Since the first time she was surprised by a pika in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, she has been fascinated with them. She and dear friend Paul talked about Pika Pete during a great backpacking trip in the Canadian Rockies. For many years, Joan, husband Howard and Paul hiked in the mountains out west every summer. Howard and Paul were mainly interested in rock climbing and reaching the tops of the peaks. Joan looked forward to patiently pika watching on the way to the tops of the peaks.

The bold colors were picked up in the west, too. Joan is drawn to bright colors wherever she finds them. No dull greens and somber browns for her unless there is sadness to talk about. Oranges, reds, purples and turquoise do the trick.

Now there is a bit of a problem here. Pikas live in rock piles that look pretty dreary to the untrained eye. So Joan has had to exaggerate the colors in the pikas' world in order to satisfy her color passion. The world of Joan's pikas is partly real and partly a figment of her colorful imagination.


Why Joan Created Pika Works

She loves pikas and the places where they live. Pikas are small, cute, hardy, hearty, hard working, determined, brave and persistent.

She would like to spread the word about pikas and the beautiful places where they live in hopes that more people will appreciate and preserve them.

She believes keeping in touch with friends is very important. People sometimes need help to do this.

Wrap these reasons together with some colorful paint and there you have it.

Why Joan Names the Animals.
Many people think that animals should not be given human names, mannerisms and senses of humor. However, Joan has never met an animal that she didn't have the urge to name. Pika Works may not be for everyone. Scientists and purists may wish to concentrate on the real animals in the Pika Photo Gallery.

Doesn't Joan Care about Anything but Pikas?
Sure she does. She loves to look for moose in the woods by her home. She's crazy about cats. She admires the magnificent animals of the jungle and savannah. She loves just about any animal especially the more weird and unusual ones. Strange birds, wild colored fish and exotic flowers all catch her eye. She'll share them with you, too, over time. You have to start somewhere. She started with pikas.

One thing is for sure. Pikas are real.
Hike high in the mountains out west and see for yourself!

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