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A miniature collection of species facing extinction

100 species project: Where it all started and what it's going to do.

The project started in February 2022, out of a desire to help raise awareness of many different species through art. As a wildlife artist dedicated to using my art to support wildlife conservation, I have been inspired by so many species and my list of artwork ideas was getting longer and longer. I wanted to find a way of shining a light on all of these species in a way that was captivating and interesting and raise money for each one, supporting established wildlife charities as well as some smaller independent research projects. If I were to create a larger piece of each one, the concept would have taken a decade of work, so I wanted to find a way of making it doable and give each of the species a place in the project.

Rewinding a few years....As a teen, I was always fascinated by wildlife and had heaps of fact files and encyclopaedias all about animals. I'd visit zoos and wildlife parks as often as I could and I always had in the back of my mind, that if I didn't pursue a career in art, that I would care for animals in some way or another. As I went through my years at college (16 -18yrs) I tried to apply myself to biology studies as a way into animal care, however my creative subjects took a higher priority as I never felt as capable at absorbing and retaining the information required for the exams. With science out the window in terms of qualifications, I pushed the idea of an animal based career to the side and threw myself into finding my creative career path.

Over the course of the following 15 years, I worked in a few different creative jobs, freelancing as a muralist, working as an in-house artist for an interior design company and finally moving onto pet portraits as I reduced my hours in the latter full time job. As I started to pay more attention to my own work on a full time basis, I found myself constantly drawn to wildlife and created many wild animal studies in my preferred high detailed, realistic style. As the years went by, my priority became the wildlife work as I had learned how much impact artwork can have on conservation work and raising awareness of wildlife issues. Through exhibitions like DSWF wildlife artist of the year and various artists working directly with conservation projects, I was completely in awe of the wildlife art and conservation combination and knew that I wanted to focus my entire career on doing as much as I could for wildlife conservation.

With that in mind I started researching species that I could paint or draw to raise awareness and support financially, but it became almost frustrating that my style was so slow and that so many species would have to wait to be giving my attention. I started to think of all the different ways I could cover so many animals, from collaborative projects to loosening up to a faster style of work. Through hours of research I pulled together a list of 100 species ranging from near threatened through to critically endangered, with a firm ambition to create a piece of artwork for each one. A little way into February 2022, I came across a post from Natalie Eslick, an Australian fine artist and educator, who was starting a fun challenge to improve her painting skills, creating a miniature study each day for 100 days. As soon as I saw it, I knew that was the answer I'd been after for my project and I set out immediately to draw up a teeny outline to trial the idea in my style.

Cut to the end of April and the mini outline finally made it to my desk where I began to figure out how on earth I was going to fit my usual level of detail into such a tiny space. I opted for a rectangle of 1.5" x 1.75" as the slight oblong allowed for the best compositions. I filmed the process and shared it online...mentioning only that I had set myself a little challenge. I didn't want to commit myself to the project fully until I had figured out a few more details, but after a couple of weeks of planning and organising, I decided to go for it and shared more of my ideas for the project. I have found in the past that a few of my "projects" or collections had started well but were interrupted by commission deadlines, other commitments or lack of time, but I was determined to make this one work!

With a list to work from I gradually started gathering references, drawing up outlines and completing the species. Each piece was taking me around three-five hours which seemed like a lot for less than 2"² but they were still doable around commissions, family life and other work commitments. Towards the end of June I had completed the first 12 in the collection and had figured out (after many mockup and adjustments) how I wanted to get them all framed. Once the framing was decided the project started to gain a bit of momentum and I began bringing in more ways of helping to raise awareness and educate people about the species; including fact cards to inform about the species habits, behaviour & threats and donation certificates that share where the £100 from each original is going. I wanted to make the collections beautiful in every way, so started designing bespoke luxury packaging to finish off the whole piece.

It is so exciting to see this collection come together and through the last five months of working on the minis. I've been pushing the limits of this project by reaching out to people in new ways, planning a solo exhibition, discovering projects running to help some of the endemic species that are still being researched and creating a kids art projects that will run at the exhibition and be available to go into schools. Although a solo exhibition and a complete collection is incredibly exciting, the biggest part of this project is that it has the potential to raise over £10'000 for conservations projects across the world.

If you would like to own one of the original 100 or any of the limited editions released early next year, be sure to sign up to my newsletter as the details of release will be sent out there first!

Please feel free to share any part of the project to help raise awareness of the various species and encourage others to take interest in looking after them.

Another way you can play a part in this, is by becoming a Project Supporter! An exciting opportunity to be a named contributor to the project and own an exclusive limited edition postcard(s) from the collection. If this is something you would be interest in, head over to the supporter page here!

There are ten postcard designs to choose from, with the collection separated into groups of (1) Big Cats, (2) Elephants, Rhino & Bears, (3) Primates, (4) Small Mammals, (5) Bugs, Bats, Frogs and Reptiles, (6) Open Ocean, (7) Africa, (8) Desert, Forest & Swamp, (9) Shore & Sea and (10) Birds. You can see the collection list in the postcard description.

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