Fern Shaffer

My interest in science has always directed me to information about the environment. By recognizing how everything is interconnected, our society can avoid mistakes that will only come back to haunt us. It makes no sense to poison the water when we will ultimately be the ones to consume it. The pattern is repeated over and over again revealing the crisis potential of our culture’s desire for immediate gratification. Living in an increasingly dangerous, toxic, and stagnant environment, for both animal and plant life, led me to investigate the dilemma through my art.

Ginkgo is a genus of highly unusual non-flowering plants. The genus first appeared in the Permian, 250 million years ago, possibly derived from “seed ferns” of the order Peltaspermales, thus the Ginkgo is a living fossil. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to 120 feet. The Ginkgo is a tough and hardy tree, they can live in most climates therefore they have been planted and cultivated all over the world. For thousands of years, leaves from the Ginkgo Biloba tree have been a common treatment in Chinese medicine. As an artist, this tree represents the plant kingdom, and I paint the leaves as a way to show respect and pay tribute to its strength and endurance. If humans became extinct, life on the planet would survive, but if there were no plants, humans would perish. Our existence depends on these species.

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© Fern Shaffer