Photos by C. Whitney-Ward
"I think I'm channelling my childhood," laughs Gorman, who grew up on an abandoned horse farm outside of Baltimore. "There were five old, two-story barns filled with rusted metal and wood. I was always building things and could feel the passage of time whenever I held an old piece of wood in my hands."
Geoffrey's studio, tucked into the back of his house just off Osage Avenue, is small and simple. There's a band saw, an electric drill, a gaggle of old wood carving tools...
and lots and lots of stuff - everywhere.
What jump started this love affair with extraordinary beasts?
"When I was fifty I went to hike the Himalayas. It was a very profound trip. I allowed myself to realize all of this (referring to his wondrous menagerie). I went in the spring and in the fall I began making art."
What inspires each piece?
Just about anything says Geoffrey. It could be a book, a casual conversation with a friend or a charming picture of a 16th century fruit bat in the NY Times. "That bat had such a teddy bear face,"remembers Geoffrey, "and I was inspired by his wings. I imagined they held all his incredible bat journey memories."
For his bat wings, Geoffrey used an old studio apron that had blemishes and memories of its own. "It's all about transformation. I love taking all the materials that I'm collecting and transforming them into something else. A mountain bike tire becomes the skin of an armadillo... It's a metaphor for life. I think that the human condition is constantly about transformation."