The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 jury’s decision is in, a few months after entry closed. I’d like to preface my news with a few personal notes.

There’s one thing which has sat with me as long as I can remember, rightly or wrongly. It’s the appetite for a purpose, worth and place. Very few things make 100% sense to everyone. I know a good number of people who despair at the enough-agreed-upon principles defining the modern world’s moving parts.

Discussion of alternatives is often condemned as fanciful, quixotic and even hypocritical rambling. Understandable, as everything threaded so deeply into 40,000-year-old “progress” threads just as deeply in naysayers like me. I’ve bloviated about climate change, habitat loss, ecological balance and more. All from underneath a roof, with food, water, warmth and a comfy sofa readily available (WHAT LUXURIES). Some progress is illusion, some is genuine, and it’s not always easy to tell which is which. It’s also not worth mourning the timelines we can’t substitute, but acceptance of the way things are is very difficult.

I’ve felt that resistance repeatedly over the course of time, to the point where many people I meet wouldn’t know what my convictions even are, I’ve learned to bury them so well and compliantly in the name of trouble-free conversation and actions. But I go grey in the face and a little unwell when I ruminate on the things I choose to read and then keep locked away in my odd little brain. Some actions are very small but easy individual bids to counter what feels like a collective, blind terror. They can also counter a (more unsettlingly still) silent and therefore truly dangerous resignation.

My enthusiasm has all but waned for juried competitions, whatever esteem they might attract or claim. However, a rare one stands firm for its purpose, worth and place.

Four years running as a Wildlife Artist of the Year finalist – always an honour. 💚

Prints are available for both Orangutan and Mexican Wolf, with 10% of all profits going to relevant charities.

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