Exhibit by Asher Jay
Everything I do is inspired by a few childhood reads that cast an enormous impression on my ever expanding soul; Where the Wild Things Are, My Family and Other Animals, Call of The Wild, and Last Chance to See. I have continually felt called to create work that would help unveil and share the magic, reverence, awe and wonder I experience when out in the fragile, finite company of wildlife.
May 7 – July 5, 2021
From diving the welcoming depths of our blue oceans to wandering the verdant remote forests and grasslands of our habitable earth, I have had extraordinary encounters that serve as a constant reminder of the truth my being stands for: Wild is the wonderstruck child within all of us. Protecting the wild preserves that spirited inner child.
I was a toddler when I first remember experiencing wonder. I crawled my diapered butt onto a large coffee table book about the oceans. There was a photograph of an octopus against the black backdrop of a sunless ocean, and it captured my core immediately. I was hooked. What was this alien life form?! What must its world be like? How does it see? What does it feel? What thoughts does it have…? Each question led to another.
As children we are brimming with questions, because everything is an unknown, everything is an opportunity that sparks exploration. But as we grow we lose this curiosity, we stop asking the why, what and how of it all. We think we know everything. It is only the sheer force of nature that can stop us in our tracks, undo our learned layers of ignorance and bring us back to the coffee table, to that first moment of naked wonder. We know without feeling, and that alienates us from that which we know things about. So until we go hiking in the woods and see two roadside hawks mating or get bitten by chiggers in a Central American rainforest, or sleep in a tent in Barafu listening to a lioness taking in your scent through the fabric shell of your portable abode, we don’t feel what it means to connect beyond knowing. That is when you feel wonder in the wild. When we lose sight of the wild, we lose sight of wonder, and of our place in the family of living things, because we begin to feel apart from and not a part of life on earth.
Wonder breaks down barriers, it makes you experience a state of oneness with what is unfolding. As an observer you are completely enraptured by the drama and dynamism happening during the moment at hand. That is a rare space to be in, we usually have to force it by listening to our breath at a yoga studio that charges us more than our monthly ‘utilities’ to endure unity and wonder. Unity and wonder are available in the wild in abundance. How can you not be spellbound when you see a flawless shiver of Silky sharks cruise around you? When I am with a shark, the shark within me comes alive, when I am with a rhino; the rhino within me comes alive. So when wild disappears it’s really parts of me, a part of us, that ends up disappearing, and such a loss is palpable.
I am in love with wild.
Isn’t it extraordinary that we get to share time, space and a common lineage with beings that look so very different from us? We are all different, yet we are irreplaceable articulations of the same source — life.
Naturally, when I awaken each day, I feel compelled by the beauty and wonder of nature to create compositions, coin campaigns and draft impact assessments or script stand up comedy routines to reconnect people to this raw understanding of life and to humanity’s true biological history. My creative purpose is to evoke the wonder I experience in others, so they too might elect to embrace interdependence over independence, nature over nurture and wonder over worrying.
Wild is where we come from, wild is who we are, and wild is what we need to rediscover, to rekindle our own indomitable interdependent presence.
Entrepreneur. National Geographic Explorer. Artist. Conservationist. Speaker. Stand-up comic. Common Name: Asher Jay Scientific Name: Asherus Jayus
Description: Mammalian and well groomed like its close relatives, the Great Apes. The Asher has golden brown curly hair that it wears in a short, asymmetrical cut. Tall, tan, and attired in trendy ensembles, this untamable, authentic creature of athletic stature has signature dark circles around its eyes, proof that it is nocturnal by choice and diurnal by coffee. The sleep-deprivation can be attributed to its workaholic nature. Time is definitely relative to the Asher, and even though it sports a prominent watch at all times, it has yet to use the apparatus for its intended purpose, which suggests that the Asher uses the watch solely for peacocking.
Habitat Range: Global citizen, amateur nest builder on field expeditions, previously found worming its way through the Big Apple City but has since relocated to Big Sky Country. From Manhattan, New York City, to Bozeman, Montana, this wild being favors zip codes with good coffee shops. Tends to hole up on most days at its desk or at its studio, because the Asher prefers professional productivity to a personal life.
Key Characteristics: Deep brown eyes, tan skin tone, loud voice with a mutt accent, excessive enthusiasm for life, enjoys walking her rambunctious Aussiedor – Onyx, consumes cake for breakfast, prefers solitude over company, gets excited by the prospect of being lost in unfamiliar towns amid unrecognizable faces, loves humming “Under the Sea” while diving, is gregarious, humorous, loving, kind, quirky and certainly enjoys being “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Behavior: The Asher Jay is an eccentric, creative, interdisciplinary problem solver and polymath. From designing on Seventh Avenue to campaigning against bloody ivory on it’s billboards, Jay’s efforts have contributed to raising consumer awareness and empowering citizen action both nationally and globally. Jay’s inchoate company Hive and Hamlet Inc. is poised to leverage the democratic nature of tech to champion impact, demand accountability and embolden transparency in the world.
Thank you to the following sponsor for generously supporting this exhibit and our Schools & Seniors in the Gallery Program: