From the Bull-leaping frescoes of Knossos to the Egyptian bronzes of Bastet animals have been a focus in our artwork since we’ve been walking the earth. In fact, the earliest remaining depiction of an animal is a cave painting of a warty hog, thought to be 45,500 years old. Fast forward a few thousand years, we are still fascinated by the timeless tradition - here we discuss some of our favourite wildlife artists.
Born in County Durham, Bibby always had an interest in art and a penchant for 3 dimensional work. His work ranges in scale from lifesize kingfishers to 15 foot kodiak bears. Going against the grain, Bibby works in a very fluid, almost chaotic manner using a mutable mental image of the piece but with a paradoxical keen eye for immaculate detail, walking the line between creativity and craftsmanship. Bibby’s sculptures are cast in bronze using the ancient lost wax technique at the Pangolin Editions Foundry, Chalford, Gloucestershire - renowned worldwide as one of the best fine art foundries. Using the same process that's remained virtually unchanged for 6,000 years, Nick Bibby is continuing the long tradition of bronze casting with meticulous detail and artistry.
Born in San Francisco and growing up in Sweden, Mårtens has always had a love of birds and has been creating ornithic artwork for as long as he can remember. He approaches his process with the meditative style of zen buddhism and calligraphy - this has impacted his technique and process. Martens paints from memory and tries to evoke the personality of the subject as well as his own emotions. His style has progressed throughout his life and career from more detailed paintings to the free form ethereal works he produces today. He uses hand-made paper and includes a red stamp on each work reminiscent of the artist's seals found in Japanese ukiyo-e prints and Chinese calligraphy.
Esteemed animal photographer Tim Flach attempts to strengthen modern man’s connection to the natural world through his work. His work’s scope transcends species and habitat, the unique composition of the images giving new insight and interpretation to the complexity and beauty of these animals. Flach also explores the role imagery plays in fostering emotional connections, how mankind constantly shapes the animal kingdom and the impact this has on our connection to and view of nature.
Konrad Bartelski is known best for his exploits on the ski slopes, yielding the best result from a Briton on the Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit in 1981 by coming within 0.11 seconds of winning a World Cup downhill race. A surprising result for Britain causing one french commentator to exclaim "Ce n'est pas possible! C'est un anglais" ("It's not possible, It's an Englishman"). Bartelski has since began a dazzling photography career focusing on the scenic backdrops of his former career and the animals that inhabit these harsh winter snowscapes. Prints in black and white accentuate the stark landscapes. The misty mountains of Patagonia to Japanese Macaques, Bartelski captures calm, silent scenes that playfully hint at the raw power and sudden turbulence of nature.
Born in the North East, oil painter Justin Coburn’s seemingly evanescent animal portraits explore man's relationship with creatures, the familial relationships we form to the religious symbols they can represent. The mixture of hyperrealistic and watercolour like blotching give the portraits a layered and distant appearance, as though the artist has managed to capture living woodsmoke behind glass
Circling back to the beginning, the oldest cave paintings ever found are around 65,000 years old. They predate the Homo Sapien migration to Europe, meaning the practice of illustrating animals may be older than our very species. We think these five artists are triumphantly carrying the torch - a torch that's been burning longer than we know; leaving a legacy that will outlast us all.
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