I am delighted to announce that I am currently featured as Artist of the Month for August and September 2021 with DSWF (the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation) where a number of my animal sculptures are available for purchase with 50% of proceeds supporting DSWF’s vital conservation work across Africa and Asia. The article below is a variation of an article I wrote for DSWF and featured here on their website.
My work as a sculptor is inspired by my lifelong love of animals. I’ve written about this before. You might enjoy this post if you’d like to know more about my background and influences. I also gave a detailed interview to the Kennel Club – read here – which explores this further. Essentially, my work is a continually evolving exploration of animal behaviour. It always starts with my subject. What is it doing? What is it feeling? What’s the story? It’s this emotional connection that gives depth and meaning to my sculpture. It’s the difference between illustration and art.
But there’s another story. A bigger story. One most of us know all too well. A story of climate change, habitat destruction, environmental degradation, over-exploitation and, ultimately, extinction. Nothing terrifies me more than the possibility of losing the very animals I have spent my life studying and sculpting. And so over the years I’ve become something else, something more than artist. A conservationist. An activist even. Because no-one who loves animals can simply stand by and do nothing. It’s up to all of us to do whatever we can to make a difference.
This is why it’s so important for me to support wildlife conservation. It isn’t just my livelihood. It’s a defining and essential part of my life. For the last twenty years or so I’ve been in the fortunate position to be able to use my art to support wildlife conservation. I’ve done this through sales and exhibitions and charity auctions, through my work as an artist promoting lesser known species, and online through my website and on social media. My involvement with DSWF (the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation) started when I began donating sculpture to be auctioned at charity events to raise much needed funds to support their work.
It was the launch of the DSWF (the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation) Wildlife Artist of the Year competition in 2008 that really opened my eyes to the importance of promoting public awareness. Through the competition and its annual exhibition I could promote the highly endangered but less well-known animals that are often most at risk. Animals like the pangolin and the painted (or wild) dog. Many of the animals that are closest to my heart. Without wider public support and awareness, organisations like DSWF won’t be able to continue their essential work.
Winning the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year competition in 2015 with my group of baby warthogs Sleepyheads is the highlight of my professional career to date. It was truly humbling to think that my work had been selected from all the incredible works of art on display in the exhibition. The fact that it was the humble and often overlooked wartie that won on the day was particularly gratifying.
My association with wildlife conservation is a lifelong commitment. I continue to support DSWF and various other wildlife conservation charities through auctions, exhibitions and sales, online and on social media. I even got on my bike and cycled the London 100 in aid of wildlife conservation. It’s all part of the story. The story of my art. The story of the wild animals that have become such an important part of my life. Long may it continue.