Press Café, 118 W Green St
The World Around Us, Artist: Jesse Lepak
I have always appreciated nature and my surroundings, and pursued my passion by earning MS and PhD degrees at Cornell University in the Department of Natural Resources and starting a career as a fisheries scientist. My wife was concerned that if I wasn’t researching fish in nature, I was at home doing research in front of the computer. The phrase, “You need a hobby that isn’t work” was met by her purchasing a woodburning kit for me in 2009. I quickly began to enjoy the relaxing and creative outlet of pyrography. Perhaps it didn’t turn out to be the distraction from fish it was intended to be, but it has made me think about the environment from a completely different perspective, and one that I enjoy more than I could have imagined. I attempt to use my handcrafted pieces as a way to capture and share my appreciation for many different forms of ecologically and aesthetically important organisms and settings. When I find that sepia cannot do an animal justice, I add color to my pieces. Thus, you will sometimes see acrylic, watercolor and colored pencil in my work. In an effort to better protect and preserve my subjects, I use salvaged, recycled, and upcycled materials, and/or those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council when possible.