Skip to Content



The relationship that humans have with animals is profound. From our material existence to our spiritual experiences, animals figure prominently in the evolution of the human species. Yet in the modern world, animals can become invisible and humans may easily forget the necessity of our relationship with them. By creating monumental sculptures, Don Kennell hopes to make animals visible and to bring particular species into human consciousness.

These sculptures invite the viewer into a fanciful world, where one may swing underneath a grizzly bear, for example. The viewer becomes a participant. And can construct a narrative or even construe a relationship with the animal in the sculpture. We hope such experiences will inspire people to reimagine the relationships humans currently have with animals and the natural world.

Bird Guy

Birds invite the past and the future and thus constitute a kind of language. Birds invite the past because they are descendants of dinosaurs. Biologically, birds today represent that distant reptilian past. Birds also invoke the future because they are ascendant. By occupying the sky, birds come to represent the space where the future lies, just beyond our grasp. If we can attain a birds-eye-view, we can see more of what lies ahead.

The bird form is very compelling to an artist like Don Kennell, who is inspired by nature, but also drawn to a modernist aesthetic. The colors and angles of birds inspire a modernist conversation about form, shape and color. The process of layering up metals to create the form gives the work an industrial modernist sensibility. Since much of the metal is also up-cycled, it further retains a postmodern awareness of multiple narratives.

Folk Artist

Coming up as a young artist in Houston, Don became part of an artist community influenced by folk artists; working near significant folk art sites; and founding a contemporary folk art institution or two of their own. They looked to folk traditions as a way of artmaking and finding formats. In this place and time, the line between contemporary and folk art had fallen away. What struck Don most about folk artists was that their passion for materials was so powerful they were able to transform mundane materials into something sacred, mind blowing and original.

This ethos continues to inspire Don’s work today. By using car hoods to make a monumental gorilla, Don is taking the mundane and making it into something powerful. “You defy all logic of the material and you transform it into something that has purpose in the world.”

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.