Inspired by the Arizona wildlife, this southwestern bird clutches a rattlesnake in its beak.
Roadrunners are a common sight in the southwestern United States, but are remarkable and striking creatures nonetheless. This piece was inspired specifically by Arizona’s wildlife and landscape (and the shows I’ve done in places like Tucson), so I applied a palette of violet and teal to the background, matching the artwork of southwestern Native American cultures.
I’ve always admired roadrunners for their eye-catching plumage (I love their retractable mohawk), their peculiar clicking call, as well as the pure bad-assery of their diet—rattlesnakes! Armed only with their speed and fearlessness, their common tactic is to grab the snake by the end of its tail and kill it with a swift whip of its head on the ground.
I wanted to capture the bizarre nature of the animal—they’re small, unassuming birds that prey on one of the most feared creatures of the southwest. They can fly, but are exceptionally fast runners (being the fastest running bird that can fly in the world). I placed it atop an iconic saguaro cactus, blooming with flowers and buzzing with insect activity. The contrast of death surrounded by such colorful life in an inhospitable environment heightens the unique contradictions that define the roadrunner.