(American, b.1960) is a painter who uses watercolors to create large-scale paintings influenced by the style of John James Audubon
(French-American, 1785–1851) and other artists from the Naturalist Illustration Movement. Ford's paintings include jokes, symbols, and clues referenced from colonial literature; these works have a rich, accurate, and meticulous display of flora and fauna. Ford was born in Larchmont, NY, and began to draw with his brother, Enfield, when he was young. Later, Ford studied Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, RI, where he attained a BFA degree in 1982. He married Julie Jones, and they moved to New York in 1983.
Ford's paintings critique the history of politics, natural science, and industrialism using complex narratives. He pioneered the art of creating large-scale multi-layered etchings, which many people confuse for paintings because they are so meticulously done. Some of Ford's works include Pancha Tantra
, painted in 2008, and I Don't Like to Look at Him, Jack
, painted in 2011. Ford's paintings often integrate the usual and the surreal, expressing his own understanding of how we view animals, and exaggerating their human qualities. His paintings, which portray a descriptive style similar to 19th century naturalists such as Karl Bodmer
(Swiss, 1809–1893), can measure over 8 by 12 feet. Ford is characterized among modern day painters of the Naturalist Illustration Movement, and his paintings are known for their sharp critique of how humanity treats nature.
Ford has received various national honors and awards for his work in the Naturalist Illustration Movement, including the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2006, Ford exhibited his first series of paintings in a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, in New York. Ford attributes his passion for drawing and painting to the inspiration he receives from the work of Giotto di Bondone
(Italian, 1266–1337). Ford has collaborated with Taschen Books to produce his large-scale layout monograph Pancha Tantra
In 2011, Ford held a midcareer retrospective traveling between the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Für Gegenwart in Berlin, Germany, to the Albertina in Vienna, Austria, and then to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Ford's work can be viewed at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, in Stamford, CT, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, ME. After living in New York with his family for over a decade, Ford relocated his studio to Great Barrington, MA, where he currently lives with his family.