Illustrated Aviary

Reimagining the Wild Turkey

For artist David Cowles, it was time for Audubon to meet Picasso.

It’s not clear what John James Audubon thought about Thanksgiving, but he was so fond of wild turkeys that he used a painting of one as the first image in his magnificent Birds of America.

He also used a miniature version in his personal seal. This may be David Cowles’s first turkey, but he has a longtime connection to the bird’s most famous portrayer.

Says Cowles, “This assignment gave me the opportunity to combine two art books that were on my family’s bookshelves and I would leaf through as a kid: Audubon and Picasso. It was a blast working between two very different styles—and adding a bit of humor with the cooked turkey leg. (I was also a big fan of turkey legs!)"

Illustration: John James Audubon
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