Wildlife conservation and environmental protection have always been my passion; my art is an expression of this love I hold for the natural world. Born in Africa, I dreamed of going on safari to the wild places of the continent. In 1996, this dream came true when my family relocated to East Africa living in Tanzania and Uganda. East Africa became my second home and my inspiration was nurtured in the African bush.
I completed my Honours degree in Environmental Science in 2006 and then travelled to Costa Rica where I worked as a volunteer on a Leatherback Turtle Conservation project. This incredible experience further nurtured my drive for active conservation. I returned home to East Africa and worked as an Environmental Consultant for an oil exploration area in Uganda. After a brief 2 years in this position I knew this work was in conflict with my ethos of conservation and in the process rediscovered my passion for art. I decided to follow this path linking environmentalism and conservation with my love of drawing, painting and photography. I recall being inspired by a lecture given by the renowned conservationist Jane Goodall who left me with these wise words, “you can make a difference, you can change the way the world is, you must believe this”
And so my journey as a professional wildlife artist began in 2008 with the decision to pursue the path of conservation through creativity and art. Living in Uganda at the time, I travelled to see the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the magical Bwindi National Park. After a very intimate and humbling encounter with these amazing animals I started my first oil painting Gentle Giant, a portrait of a Mountain Gorilla. This painting was selected for exhibition by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's (DSWF) at their Wildlife Artist of the Year competition in London. This gave me huge encouragement as I was now involved with fellow artists who shared a common vision in a global conservation initiative. In 2009, I created an 8ft diptych of the wildebeest migration in the Masaai Mara titled March of the Millions. This painting was awarded an Honourable Mention at the 2009 DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year Competition.
In 2010, I returned to South Africa and became involved in local conservation initiatives. Charcoal had now become my chosen medium after previously only working in oil and chalk pastels. I love the simplicity of charcoal and its earthly origins. The portrayal of a subject in shades of black and white creates a classic, poignant feel. Fittingly, my first subject was the endangered African Penguin. I contributed one of a series of penguin drawings to the African Penguin Conservation Fundraiser with proceeds going to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). In 2012, with the distressing increase of rhino poaching in South Africa I wanted to get actively involved in anti-poaching initiatives. Rhino Protect in association with the famous Wailers reggae band held a fundraising concert in Cape Town; I donated a portrait of a black rhino that was auctioned to raise funds. In 2013, I contributed a life size drawing of a black rhino to another conservation fundraiser initiated by Shamwari Game Reserve and Ecco Tours. I am also involved locally with the Endangered Western Leopard Toad Conservation Project in Noordhoek.
It is my hope that my art inspires people to re-engage with the natural world, to discover the spiritual enrichment this brings to our modern lifestyles, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I hope to help make others aware of the importance of conserving wildlife and natural habitats; and to remind us that as custodians of this planet it is our birthright to protect it.