Vicky White has established herself as one of the country’s leading contemporary wildlife artists, creating new perspectives within the traditional framework of wildlife art with her dramatic monochrome drawings and mixed media works.
Her fascination with animals is rooted in her experience as a former zookeeper and animal trainer- work which afforded her a wealth of close contact with creatures as diverse as gorillas, tigers, parrots and sea lions. “Being lucky enough to have worked with them on a one to one basis and knowing them as distinct individuals with fully formed, complex minds of their own, fundamentally shapes the work I do now. Each of the animals I draw is as unique as you and I.”
A long-standing, personal desire to support wildlife conservation remains central to White’s work; “Beyond the immediate implications for our own long term survival, the extinction of a species also leaves a less tangible legacy; a profoundly sad and deeply intuitive sense simply that something immeasurably special has been lost forever”.
White works in pencil on primed panels, meticulously building up tone and texture layer by layer. Any suggestion of environment is abandoned in favour of allowing her subjects to occupy a deliberately ambiguous, indefinable space; “The natural history details are crucial in understanding your sitter and are inspiring in themselves, but I’m driven by a simpler, more visceral sense of wonderment at the sheer existence of the creatures I draw.’
Since retaining a sense of realism and uniqueness is central to her work, White is drawn to the masters of the human form, Carravaggio, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Lucien Freud and Ron Mueck.
Vicky White (b.1977, UK) lives and works in Suffolk. She received a BA (1st class Hons) in Scientific and Natural History Illustration at the Blackpool and Flyde School of Art before completing an MA in Communication Art and Design at Royal College of Art, London, in 2005. She is also a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists. Her works have appeared in mixed exhibitions including the BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery and The Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London. She has also illustrated two non-fiction children’s books published by Walker Books/Candlewick Press; ‘Ape’, published in 2007, and ‘Can we save the Tiger?’ (both written by Martin Jenkins).