The beautifully savage beasts and birds of Walton Ford
Working with master printer Peter Pettengill at Wingate Studio, New Hampshire, Ford
used the traditional techniques of line etching, aquatint, drypoint and spit-bite
aquatint to make the print, Limed Blossoms. The edition of 100 copies was printed
by hand on 100%-cotton archival-quality Rives BFK paper, using an American French
Tool etching press. Each print is numbered, and signed by the artist.
Both editions feature a complete professional biography as well as an appendix with
substantial excerpts from the textual sources for the paintings, from Vietnamese
folktales and the letters of Benjamin Franklin to the Autobiography of Benvenuto
Cellini and John James Audubon’s Ornithological Biography. Walton Ford’s life-sized
watercolors of animals could be mistaken for 19th-century natural-science illustrations
or British colonial paintings. Except they’re not. Something strange and usually
sinister is happening in each of Ford’s works, whether it’s a turkey crushing a small
parrot with its claw, a collection of monkeys wreaking havoc on a formally set dinner
table, or a buffalo surrounded by a pack of bloodied white wolves… in the middle
of a proper French garden. Executed with the deft skill of a natural-history artist,
Ford’s works vibrate with an intensity of uncanny familiarity; they are both reassuring
in style and disturbing in content. With titles like Au Revoir Zaire, Dirty Dick
Burton’s Aide de Camp, and Space Monkey, his paintings not only blur the lines between
human and animal history, but also open the doors to a world of real-life fantasy,
dreams, and nightmares.
For this hand-crafted, limited-edition volume, Ford’s paintings have been color-separated
and reproduced in Pan4C, the finest reproduction technique available today, providing
unequalled intensity and color range. The book includes 12 horizontal and 4 vertical
foldouts, along with dozens of details, which present the work at a scale that practically
allows the viewer to enter the ancient and peopled landscapes, feel the brush of
a bird’s feathers against flesh, and experience the hot breath of a wild cat about
to go for the jugular.
Collected together for the first ever in-depth exploration of Walton Ford’s œuvre,
Ford’s bestiary takes its name from one of the texts he frequently cites in his work:
The Pancha Tantra, the ancient Indian book of animal folktales collected from the
3rd to 5th centuries B.C. that is considered to be the precursor to Aesop’s Fables.
Stories derived from many of the texts that served as the germinal seed for these
paintings fill the book’s appendix; and an original essay by New Yorker staff writer
Bill Buford substantiates the notion that this contemporary artist is more than just
one to watch, but one who will stand the test of time. Available in an Art and a
Collector’s Edition, Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra is limited to a total of 1,600 copies,
signed by the artist and presented in a custom clamshell box. The artist:
Walton Ford, born 1960, studied filmmaking at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design),
but soon realized he was a painter. For the last twenty years he has been creating
large-scale narrative watercolours. His work has been widely exhibited, including
solo shows at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
Bill Buford is an author and New Yorker staff writer, as well as the founding editor
of Granta, which he edited for 16 years. His books include Among the Thugs and Heat:
An Amateur’s Adventures as a Kitchen Slave. He lives in New York City with his wife
and two sons.
Art Edition (No. 1–100)
Limited to 100 individually numbered copies, each signed by Walton Ford
Printed on archival-quality paper
Finished with a sumptuous calf-leather cover and gold embossing
14.8 x 19.7 in., 356 pages
Packaged in a clamshell box covered in Luxor book cloth
With an original six-color intaglio print, Limed Blossoms, made especially for this
book by Walton Ford
9 x 12 in. on 14 x 18.5 in.
Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra
Walton Ford, Bill Buford
Hardcover in clamshell box, 37,5 x 50 cm, 354 pages