ARTIST STATEMENT: Michael Duva’s project ANIMALS rose straight out of his love of animals. Citing the last page of an illustrated childhood book, he recalls: “Whoever painted that page admired horses so much, they looked up to them and invited me.” His portraits of both wild and domesticated animals, allow the viewer to enter into a relationship with the animal that is both reverent and personal.
Duva prides himself in not disturbing the animal in its environment in order to make his art - he waits for the perfect moment. His patience and masterful technique result in captivating portraits. The hyperrealism of whiskers, feathers and fur, juxtaposed against a deep black background combines to celebrate the intrinsic power and undeniable beauty within nature. Through his perspective, he compels the viewer to see his subjects not only as aesthetic objects but as equals.
“For my on-going project ANIMALS, I do one of my favorite things, that is to observe animals. By portraying my love, fascination, and appreciation of animals, and amazement of similarities with human expression, I hope my images transfer my excitement to others and influence respect for their being.”
Duva has held a camera for more than 20 years. He attended School of Visual Arts in New York where he studied photography. He has been included in numerous photo annual awards and published worldwide including book covers from the likes of: Irvine Welsch, Mary Higgins Clark, and Joseph O’Neil, and a multiplatinum album by Kings of Leon. He is the recipient of an AOL grant, with a committee featuring Whitney Director Adam Weinberg and Chuck Close. Commercial clients include: Nike, Microsoft, New York Magazine, Newsweek, MTV, Samsung and Simon and Schuster.