Informally titled ‘Lizard Shaming’, my senior thesis is a mixed media project centered around my two pet crested geckos, featuring a series of forty drawings of various reptiles, a two minute short film featuring the geckos (Lizard Shaming), and a bioactive vivarium sculpture. The purpose of this project is to have a strong portfolio of related pieces across various media, which will hopefully impress on people how reptiles may make better pets than they at first believe.
I have always been interested in reptiles, insects, fish, and in general, anything without fur or feathers. For whatever reason, the veterinary community has decided that all reptilians, no matter how common, are considered ‘exotic’ animals, and they are quite frequently difficult to find proper care and information for. My goal as a caretaker for my own geckos is to encourage people to view reptiles with less apprehension, and to genuinely consider them as good pets. Quite often, they are easier to care for than popular small mammals or birds, hardier, and cleaner.
There is a stigma that reptiles are simple, primitive creatures, with no capacity for love or any positive feelings towards humans, and I think it is important to impress on the general population how intelligent and capable reptiles really can be. Most importantly, I would like others to be able to see in them what I do – sometimes cute, always cool animals which have evolved to fit hundreds of unique niches by methods totally foreign to any mammalian species. An animal which will not instantly love and worship you, but that you must work hard at to earn their respect and trust.