donny nguyen.
donny nguyen.
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i don’t remember much from my high school english classes. being the techno-geek that i am, english was not very high on the interest scale after the ninth grade. the asian six pack was though! but for some reason i do remember the rime of the ancient mariner, by samuel taylor coleridge. i had never heard of an albatross and after having heard the description, i imagined them to be quite giagantic birds. what i didn’t remember about the poem was the reference it made to the birds being a sign of both good and bad luck. ravens seem to share this same ambiguous symbolic meaning so for me there is a nice alternative when it comes to imagery. i find it funny that of all the animals i’ve drawn for the bestiary though, the two with such ambiguity happen to be birds.

they are indeed large birds with wingspans that can exceed three and a half metres (over eleven feet for you empirical folk). i guess this helps them to efficiently soar over large distances with minimal effort. they eat fish and shell fish but they do scavenge as well (another similarity to ravens). there are twenty one species of albatross and nineteen are considered threatened. the amsterdam and chatham albatross are considered endangered. long line fishing is not a friendly activity for these birds. hopefully they’re still around by the time i finish this bestiary.

i’m not too sure why i’m a bit fascinated with these birds (aside from the way the look) but i think it’s because of the different interpretations they lead to, depending on the culture. they’re scavengers, plain and simple. they’re smart but they apply their intelligence mostly for their scavenging ways. historically, those in the west seem to have thought them to be more ominous and negative on account of their blackness and what they eat. yet in parts of asia, they were thought of as gods. they’re just there, to me; just part of the chain of things. i didn’t know that they’re the official bird of the yukon. corvus corax in moleskine, 9×10″