The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 3rd Annual Into the Wild international online art exhibition. Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.
To contact these artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 3rd Annual Into the Wild Exhibition page for contact information.
Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.
Best in Show (Traditional) – Nathan Miller – “Legend of the Jaguar Shaman” – acrylic on gesso board
Nathan Miller’s journey in art began as a child. He enjoyed drawing animals, people, dragons and dinosaurs. The future Tampa Bay artist was always known as the artist in the classroom. At the age of 15, he moved to Jerusalem, Israel, because of his father’s work. During his high school years, Nathan traveled to Kenya and Uganda, which would influence his art for years to come.
Midway through his senior year, Nathan returned to the U.S., where his family settled in Gainesville, Florida. After finishing his final semester at Buchholz High School, he enrolled at the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. After graduating, he accepted a Web Design position in Houston, Texas. Nathan Miller enjoyed life as a young professional in a large city with many other young professionals. But, after five years, he was ready for something new.
Nathan felt as though a part of him was being neglected. Although he was at home in the city and enjoyed his work environment, he knew he had to paint. Web Design was a job, but painting was a passion. And because he enjoyed surfing and exploring the outdoors, Costa Rica called him. Nathan sold his belongings, stocked up on art supplies, and began the next chapter in his life.
For the next five years, Nathan dove into his art from the small town of Nosara, Costa Rica. He left web design and did everything he could to learn, grow, and evolve as an artist. The lifestyle was more laid back. It was exactly what he needed to focus on his work. It wasn’t long before Nathan became known throughout Costa Rica. He won first place in a national art contest and then became one of the most prominent artists featured at the Hidden Garden Gallery in Liberia, Costa Rica. He built a business specializing in giclée prints on stretched canvas, and eventually spent most of his time focused on commissioned paintings of wildlife and portraiture.
To be immersed in a culture of art and to take his work to the next level, Nathan chose to return to the United States, where he created a home studio in St. Petersburg, Florida, a city known for its vibrant art scene. Since his move back to the US, Nathan has won a number of awards at art festivals and has been published in the Tampa Bay Magazine, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, and the American Art Collector Magazine.
Today, Nathan resides in Tampa, Florida, where he is working on a new series that combines wildlife with elements of human culture. The purpose of his work is to find creative ways to connect humanity with the natural world.
Nathan’s website is www.nathanmiller.gallery
Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Shawna Hinkel – “The Mad Drag Queen” – photography
Shawna Hinkel is an award-winning photographer from Dallas, Texas. She received her Certification from Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in 2014 and her Master of Photography degree in 2019. Her work has been accepted in the PPA International Photographic Competition Annual Exhibition every year since 2016, with images published in the annual Showcase Collection and Loan Collection books as well. She was the Dallas Professional Photographers Association Photographer of the Year in 2017 and 2018, and was named as one of the Top 10 photographers in Texas in 2020. She also received the American Society of Photographers’ State Elite Award in 2020. She has won a variety of other awards, and has been featured in multiple art gallery exhibitions.
Shawna’s website is www.wanderlustfineartistry.com
Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Peter Thomas – “Wisdom Walker” – bronze
Biography: Peter Thomas is a multi-medium fine artist who was born in Manhattan and currently resides and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In 2013, he graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a double major in Illustration and Graphic Design.
Since an early age, Peter has been excited and obsessed about creating visuals, no matter the medium. From film and photography to stone and bronze sculptures, he makes sure every detail is accounted for and the end product will make people stop, look and think differently.
He started his career wearing many different hats, such as a freelance painter/illustrator, a photography assistant, corporate creative designer, and a stone sculptor’s assistant with trips all over Italy to sculpt and set up large shows. Peter found himself working alongside some renowned photographers such as Annie Leibowitz and Hiro with a client base that consisted of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Tiffany and Co, Samsung and many more. After trying on all of these hats, Peter found what checked all the boxes. Over the past year he has focused on sculpture and is finding more success and fulfillment with this medium. In this short time, he has had fortunate showings of his wildlife sculptures with Van Der Plas Gallery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Artist Statement: Nature, wildlife and my surrounding environment have always impacted my work and are now my main sources of inspiration. My current work not only shows wildlife’s natural beauty but also my personal observations and interpretations of the surrounding world. My sculptures are representational with a small twist. The process starts at closely examining the bone and muscle structure of the figure through any visual form, whether its photographs, videos, or my own personal travels. I tend to emphasize the details that I find most intriguing – not it is anatomical accurateness. I make my own armatures from wood, pipe and different thicknesses of wire. The sculptures are then built out with oil-based clay by hand and traditional clay sculpting tools. On request, I will make molds to cast them in bronze and collaborate with local foundries.
Peter’s website is http://peterthomasart.com
2nd Place (Traditional) – Esther van Hulsen – “Ferrari of the Skies – Peregrine Falcon” – watercolor and colored pencil on matte board
Esther van Hulsen has been drawing animals for as long as she can remember. She had to be pushed to start learning to walk, as she would just sit around and draw animals. There has never been other subjects that have been of more interest, it has always been animals, both now living and extinct.
Born in the Netherlands in 1981, she completed a Bachelor in communicative design and scientific illustration at the Art Academy Minerva. Ever since she has been working as a professional wildlife artist. In 2010, she also included paleo art, the reconstructing of extinct animals, in her work. Esther moved to Norway in 2006. The beautiful nature and wildlife there has been a grateful subject for a lot of her art works. She now lives in a small cabin in the woods, where there is ample wildlife.
In 2016, Esther had the opportunity to draw an extinct octopus with the actual 95 million year old ink from the fossil. The last time this has been done was by famous paleontologist Mary Anning in the 1800´s. https://www.demilked.com/octopus-painting-using-ancient-ink-from-fossil-esther-van-hulsen/
Esther’s award winning art has been exhibited worldwide, and she has participated in the prestigious Birds in Art Show in the Leigh Yawkee Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin, USA. She has also illustrated award-winning books, which have been published in countries like Norway, Holland, Russia, China, Japan and France.
Esther was involved with the wildlife conservation project of Expedition Art. They made a book called “Safe Haven: Threatened and endangered animals”, in which her work was included. Commissions include work for natural history museums worldwide, and illustrations for among others Nature Magazine, National Geographic and Popular Science Magazine.
“I love animals. Not just as a beautiful and necessary part of our world or creations of wonder in all their diversity and appearance. It goes deeper. Each animal has a character, is its own unique person, be it big or small. This is what I want to show with my art. I want to bring the animal close. I do this by creating highly detailed paintings in traditional media like watercolor, pencil and acrylics, putting a lot of focus on the eyes and small hints hidden in the animal and environment. This way the viewer can not only marvel at the intricacy and magnificence of nature’s creatures, the softness of fur, the deadliness of teeth, the beauty of patterns and shapes, but also meet the person behind the eyes. Who is this animal? Not a species, but as an individual? Each work is the portrait of a being, with its own character and story. “
Esther’s website is www.esthervanhulsen.com
2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Ilona Abou-Zolof – “Rhino” – digital photo painting
I am an image-maker and a digital artist. Taking images gives me as much fun as processing them. Digital tools and digital painting help to convert my photos and composites into digital art. Learning new ways of making my art different gives me pleasure, I evolve and move on, so I do not get boring to my viewers or bored with myself. It is amazing what we can produce in the digital age and how much fun it is.
Ilona’s website is http://www.zolof.net
2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “Young Rivals” – bronze
Douglas Aja has been sculpting African wildlife since the late 1990s. Since that time, he donates a portion of the sales proceeds to various conservation organizations as well as donates sculptures for fund raising events. Though he sculpts a variety of species, he specializes in the African elephant. Many elephants are known individuals from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. He has been a longtime supporter of Amboseli Trust for Elephants, ElephantVoices, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF). Aja’s bronze sculptures are in the private collections of elephant researchers Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, wildlife cinematographer Martyn Colbeck, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Bennington Center for the Arts and NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones.
Traveling to Africa for the first time in 1978, Doug took part in a wilderness education program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). There he studied wilderness and mountaineering skills, outdoor leadership, minimum impact camping and Kenya’s culture. He continues to visit East Africa regularly to take photos, gather reference material and to further his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. He often backpacks on Mount Kenya, through Maasailand and has climbed Kilimanjaro.
Doug’s website is https://gallery.artistsforconservation.org/artists/1238/gallery/all
3rd Place (Traditional) – Sidong Zhao – “Bullish” – watercolor on paper
Zhao Sidong was born in 1979 and is a Qingdao painter. He graduated from Jilin College of Art in 2003. He is currently a member of the Shandong Branch of the Chinese Artists Association, a member of the Shandong Artists Association, a member of the Shandong Oil Painting Society, a member of the China-Russia Oil Painting Art Exchange Association, and an honorary consultant of the Canadian Half-point Black Artist Association Artist in residence at Baolong Group Artist Studio.
His main media is oil painting. Many of his works were shortlisted and awarded in international, national and provincial exhibitions, and were collected by collectors at home and abroad.
Sidong Zhao can be reached via his email.
3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Barbara Mierau-Klein – “Leopard” – digitally enhanced photography
Barbara Mierau-Klein is a digital artist recognized for her multi-layered, imaginative and colorful fine art images. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area but often travels the world as a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years.
Much of Barbara’s work is highly stylized and focuses on beautiful moments and evocative moods across a wide range of subjects. The inspiration for her images comes from many sources, often her own nature photography, but also books, song lyrics, movies, and works of other artists, old masters as well as contemporary digital artists.
Barbara’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in the US and Europe and has received numerous awards. Her images also appear regularly in international art magazines. Barbara is represented locally by Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.
Barbara’s website is http://www.barbaramierauklein.com
3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Wenbin Yao – “Fight” – resin
Because I have lived on the grassland since I was a child, I used to chase and play with the little Mongolian horses as a child. It is free by nature, and the spirit of going forward has been imprinted in my heart. After going to school and leaving my hometown, the Mongolian horse in my heart carries my longing for my hometown. At the same time, it goes forward courageously, and its quality of facing up to difficulties is constantly influencing and inspiring myself in my life, so I use the ambition of trusting things. The technique expresses the image of the Mongolian horse after growing up in the fight against the sky. This is my original intention to make this work!
Mongolian horses are on the prairie in wind, frost, snow and rain. Its perseverance, its hard work, and its courageous spiritual nature contain lofty ideals and selfless sentiments, which are our powerful spiritual motivation. It is also our indispensable spiritual support.
Wenbin Yao can be reached via his email.
4th Place (Traditional) – Durwood Coffey – “Late for Supper” – acrylic
Following in the footsteps of such childhood hero’s as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell, Durwood Coffey learned the art of illustration and practiced this visual skill for over 30 years in the corporate world. His clients came from across the country representing such firms as Detroit Edison, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, SeaWorld, Capital Cities and Marvel Comics. It was in this commercial visual training ground where projects ranging from spot illustration in periodicals to the creation of major series of paintings for corporate boardrooms were made. This business environment is where Durwood kept his artistic vision and skills honed for a day in which he could unleash them upon the personal subjects of his choice.
In only a few short years after his birth in 1951, Durwood would pick up pencil and paper and begin to draw. Influenced by his artistic family, especially by his father and an older brother who were both enamored by the practice of drawing, Durwood found his natural attraction and enjoyment in the creation of images from the animal world.
Throughout his school years, he found his true passion and always excelled in art classes. Immediately after high school graduation, Durwood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he had the job title of Combat Artist. After serving his term of duty, he attended college where he majored in Fine Art and Illustration.
Living and working under the urban Detroit smokestacks of the automotive capital of the world, where the practice and need for wildlife art is not highly in demand, Durwood found raising a family and being a provider to be a challenge for those with artistic talent. His success depended on his ability to produce artwork in a wide variety of subject matter, ranging from cars, trucks, architecture, cartoons, portraits and landscapes. Many of these works won him awards and recognition among his peers in the field of illustration.
In time, Durwood felt it was important to return to painting the subjects that he most enjoyed as a child, the images that never left his creative imagination. The world of the animal kingdom and its habitat soon came back to life on canvas and paper. With the freedom to explore the vast variety of wildlife subjects that exist in the world and reference them through his personal artistic expression, a collection of insects, fish and animals took form and await the eyes of the world for consummation.
Durwood can be reached via his email.
4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Elizabeth Kayl – “Spackle on Grackle” – digital photography
As a photographer by passion and not trade, Elizabeth Kayl is intrigued by both the ordinary and extraordinary. She enjoys traveling and never explores without her camera, poised and ready to provide the next canvas to paint through a lens. She is particularly fond of creating works in abstraction and monochromes and has an affinity for the subject matter of trees, skies, and architecture. Elizabeth has had her work included into juried gallery shows in 20 different US states and in 3 international countries in 2020 and 2021 to date. Elizabeth has recently won a First Place and a Visitor’s Choice in two galleries in the US. By day, she is employed as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Loveland, Colorado.
Elizabeth’s website is http://intrinsicphotography.pb.studio
4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Oleg Kedria – “King” – fiber, Swarovski crystal
I was born in Ukraine and got an Art education there, from College to the highest university degree for 13 years. Love for animals and inspiration for the works of art by Antoine-Louis Barye defined my future for life. From classical bronze sculptures of small and life sizes to contemporary Art in fiberglass. Since 2013 I have been living in the USA, one of the main works in the USA was the historical classical life size sculpture “Game” for the city of Fenton, Michigan, in which I did not miss the opportunity to add a sculpture of a cat, despite the strict plot of the monument. After all, animals are an integral part of our life.
Oleg can be reached via his email.
5th Place (Traditional) – Barney Levitt – “Celebration” – oil
Barney Levitt has been creating ‘pictures’ ever since he was old enough to grip a crayon and scribble on his parents’ living room walls. He was given his first oil set when he was 10 years old, which set him on his destined path to becoming a professional artist. After graduating with a fine arts degree in drawing and painting, he never looked back.
His work ranges from classical still life set-ups to quirkier narrative pieces that tell a story or invites the viewer to create a narrative of their own. His paintings often cross over from the real to the surreal.
But just as each of us possess ever-changing moods and feelings; his paintings vary in theme from the classical ‘old master’ setups, to a world of fantasy and make believe. Titles are important to him as they give the viewer better insight into what he is trying to convey. Humor also plays out in much of his work and he strives for a narrative that will capture the viewers’ attention. His work combines naturalistic detail with quirky offbeat compositions that often juxtapose ordinary objects in ways the viewer doesn’t expect.
He studied under Robert Sullins and received his B.A. in studio art from S.U.N.Y. at Oswego. He is a member of Gallery Blink in Lexington, MA, Gallery Antonia, in Chatham, MA, and the Stewart Clifford Gallery in Provincetown, MA. He has been a member of The Copley Society of Art since 2004 and received his Copley Master status in 2017. He has been juried into The International Guild of Realism, The National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Society, and Oil Painters of America
Barney’s website is www.barneylevitt.com
5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Marcello Galleano – “Perfect Camouflage” – photography
Marcello Galleano, an entrepreneur in the field of nutraceuticals and herbal medicine, has always been a lover of nature and adventure trips. He has visited more than 85 countries worldwide and collaborates with non-profit associations in Africa and South America. Passionate about wildlife photography, he loves to capture the most incredible moments that the various environments offer and share the beauty of the world.
Marcello can be reached via his email.
5th Place (3 Dimensional) – K R Nariman – “Escape” – bronze
K R Nariman’s artworks exhibit wildlife concerns. The widespread threat to the natural world in the face of habitat destruction and resource exploitation pose monumental wildlife and environmental threats.
The human race is collectively responsible for the degradation of the environment around us, and that is reflected in the form of abstract human figures in all her sculptures. Her work is influenced by the degradation of the natural world and that takes its shape in the form of Bronze Sculptures of human and animal figurines in addition to nature-inspired artwork. Hand crafted sculptures are primary to her practice and she produces small and large-scale sculptures.
Through these sculptures what is portrayed are the different ways in which nature has suffered due to human activity. However, we still have enormous scope to mend our ways, and take the path towards living in harmony with nature. What many of her sculptures attempt to show is that humans can in fact coexist with nature, and for our prosperity, it is not necessary for nature to suffer. We need positive messages of how we can all live as one, to ensure that future generations will enjoy the bounties of nature that we enjoy today.
K R Nariman’s research is primarily focused on the effect that human activity has on the planet’s biodiversity. A number of elements cause this disruption, including habitat alteration, resource exploitation, and deforestation. Due to consumerism and the lack of knowledge about sustainability, we find ourselves moving further away from our connect with our ecosystems. Therefore, her sculptures hope to impact the viewer on the pressing issue of today which is environmental change, and how we as human beings can directly or indirectly damage or improve our surroundings and ourselves. Her hope is to extend knowledge on conservation efforts and kindness and help that will ultimately lead people towards lifestyle changes so that a healthy habitat is secured for future generations.
Through Art, we have the power to reach out to society – to inform, educate and ignite a curiosity towards wildlife conservation.
K R’s website is www.krnariman.com
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM