The life and adventures of rodents in art | Kitsap Week

The Bainbridge Public Library will showcase the work of artist Rachel Fisher throughout January, featuring the adventures of rats and their feathered friends.

Rachel Fisher has moved beyond the shores of her childhood home of Bainbridge Island, but wherever the artist has found herself, from college to corporate life, she hasn’t forgotten island roots.

“I’m a lifelong Pacific Northwest native who grew up on Bainbridge Island,” Fisher said. “I started my career as a medical illustrator while attending Oregon State University.”

Fisher graduated from OSU with honors and degrees in Fine Art and Design. Her day job is currently at Oracle’s Seattle office. But her artistic endeavors don’t end at her work desk.

“In my free time I illustrate and collaborate with other artists,” Fisher said.

Those illustrations will take Fisher back to Bainbridge for an exhibition of her work, “A Better Life.”

The Bainbridge Island Library will feature Fisher’s pen and watercolor artwork throughout the month of January, beginning with an artist’s reception on Jan. 2 during Winslow’s First Friday Art Walk.

“My current exhibit, ‘A Better Life,’ was conceived after one too many espressos and awkward social encounters,” Fisher said. “Inspired by the likes of Hayao Miyazaki and Mattias Adolfsson, it explores the trials and tribulations of a group of rats as they work to improve their lot in life.”

“From rocket ships to funerals, you’re invited to be part of their adventures in a new and strange world,” she said. 

Through Fisher’s vision, a group of rats engage in adventures from knitting to gardening, and decorating for Christmas; often running into their feathered friends. The rats even find themselves on a trip to the moon.

Fisher chose rats as the main characters because, despite some rodent fans, rats are largely unfavorable with the public, she said.

“My characters are rats instead of people with a few guest appearances by owls and other furry critters,” she said. “Rats are somewhat unlovable animals which is why all of them are shown desperately trying (and often failing) to better themselves.”

In the end, the  adventures are of characters doing their best to be better, to achieve despite facing challenges. And in the mix is Fisher’s humorous take on the awkward moments people can find themselves in.

“I think one of the greatest things about life is how surreal and awkward it can be,” Fisher said. “All my illustrations capture a key moment of action within a larger adventure. They show that instant of panic, exhilaration, and awkwardness that is all too familiar. “