The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 4th 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 4th 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) – Annik Janssens – “Hope” – pastel
Annik Janssens has had throughout her life a tremendous passion for animals and everything that has to do with nature. Ever since she was a little toddler all she wanted to do was draw ‘critters’. However, shortly after her training as a graphic designer, she put the pencils aside and took a completely different path professionally. Until a few years ago someone asked her to make a portrait of his dog, then a second portrait followed, and she has been unstoppable ever since… Annik strives to convert her passion for animals into realistic pastel portraits where she tries to approach the character of the animal as much as possible.
To see more of Annik’s work, please visit her website.
Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Elizabeth Kayl – “Sunset Sentinel” – photography
I have always been told that I have an “eye” for capturing a good photograph. Driving down the road or walking along a city sidewalk, I am constantly seeking to find that perfect composition or subject to frame in my mind, hoping that my camera is with me. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I became serious about sharing my work with a broader audience than just my family and have been pleased with the success I have received in doing so. As a photographer by passion and not trade, I am intrigued by both the ordinary and extraordinary, particularly drawn toward unusual landscapes, birds, and architecture.
Elizabeth has had her work included into juried gallery shows in 32 different US states and in 3 international countries in 2020, 2021 and 2022 to date. Elizabeth has recently won a Juror’s Award, two Best in Show Awards, a First Place Award and a Visitor’s Choice. Her work has been featured in many permanent public art locations, as well. By day, she is employed as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the beautiful art-inspired City of Loveland, Colorado.
To see more of Elizabeth’s work, please visit her website.
Best in Show (3-Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “Tim” – bronze
Douglas Aja has been sculpting African wildlife since the late 1990s. Though he sculpts a variety of species, he specializes in the African elephant. Many elephants are known individuals from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. 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, North Carolina Central University and NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones. Aja donates 35% of all sales to several conservation organizations.
To see more of Doug’s work, please visit his website.
2nd Place (Traditional) – Carina Imbrogno – “Ricky the Raccoon” – pastels
I’m a self-taught disabled inspirational artist. I started my art in 2015 after I almost lost my life due to my many disabilities and illnesses caused by a rare genetic illness called Elher’s Danlos Syndrome. I am a walking miracle. My spine collapsed twice and I’m lucky to be alive. I’ve endured over 10 operations since the age of 10. I have two rods and 26 screws holding my spine. I try to do my art every day as a form of therapy and because I have found my passion late in life but I believe it’s never too late to do what you love. I feel my purpose is to tell my story and show my art and inspire others. I enjoy drawing realistic art in many different mediums but my medium of choice for right now is pastels. I enjoy drawing pets, children, people, nature, wildlife, and now I want to try my hand on landscapes.
I discovered pastels three years ago and I’ve created over 70 pieces in this time frame. In seven years I’ve created over 120 pieces of art. My inspiration comes from the love I have for God’s creations. My inability to ever have children of my own has drawn me to draw children, babies and animals with their babies. The beauty that we take for granted in the world is what I enjoy depicting the most. I feel like the most fortunate and blessed person in the world to be able to create art inspire of my many limitations both mental and physical.
To see more of Carina’s work, please visit her website.
2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Lyn Darlington – “What’s down there?” – photography/digital
Lyn Darlington is a passionate photographer and digital artist from N.S.W. Australia. Lyn’s favourite day is spent photographing nature whether it is birds, wildlife, flowers or landscapes from these images Lyn draws her inspirations for creating art. Lyn enjoys the magic of the digital darkroom she transforms an original image into art with the use of textures a variety of software applications and hand painting to create a compelling work of art. This is all part of Lyn’s photographic art journey.
To see more of Lyn’s work, please visit her website.
2nd Place (3-Dimensional) – Harry Waller – “Giant Anteater” – mixed media
Artist Biography: As well as performing in colleges and nightclubs all over the country, Harry Waller has appeared as a songwriter, concert headliner, opening act, emcee, recording artist, and producer. He has opened for such notables as Randy Newman, Emy Lou Harris, John Prine, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Heart, just to name a few. Cockroaches on Parade was released as a record and illustrated book, and I Hate Cats was played repeatedly on the Doctor Demento Show. He can be heard singing on the chorus of the Chicago Cubs victory song Go Cubs Go. He also appeared as an artist on the Grammy winning Tribute to Steve Goodman album. Seven of his songs are posted on YouTube and have received over 150,000 views. In 1984, Harry began painting full-time. Best known for pop surrealism and photorealism, he has had one person shows at galleries throughout the Midwest and has been featured at Chicago’s Limelight, Nashville’s Faisons, and West Hollywood’s Rembrandt’s in the Beverly Plaza Hotel. Commissions include a movie poster for Made in America, a film of the life of jazz great Ornette Coleman. His works have been shown coast-to-coast in juried shows and at galleries.
Artist Statement: Once a week for seven years I was a docent at Lincoln Park Zoo. When not performing structured tours, talks, or manning kiosks, we would stand by an exhibit and talk to the public. The topics would include endangered animals, hunting, poaching, habitat destruction, global warming, how to prevent these, captive breeding, and general zoo and environmental questions. But the most asked question repeatedly was, “Do these make good pets?” I’m sculpting to 1/6th scale, medium to large mammals. My method of sculpting is similar to taxidermy. I start with a wire armature covered in an aluminum body mold. I cover that with a skin of polymer clay, shape, add details like fur and eyes, cure, and finally prime and paint. I mount this into an aquarium habitat using museum display techniques to create “surreal dioramas”. These are perfect pets for all Americans. You don’t have to walk, water, feed, groom, clean, change litter, or go to a vet.
To see more of Harry’s work, please visit his website.
3rd Place (Traditional) – Holly Kavonic – “Predator” – oil
Holly Kavonic is a self-taught oil painter specializing in Hyperrealism. Born and raised in South Africa, Holly now resides in South Lake Tahoe, California. Through her paintings she aims to capture the indescribable beauty that can be found in even the most unlikely subject matter and to celebrate the magnificence of beauty and life itself. Each painting can take anywhere from 3 – 12 months depending on the size and complexity of the piece. While Holly now primarily focusses on wildlife, she also has an extensive collection of African portraits.
To see more of Holly’s work, please visit her website.
3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Naona “Peaches” Wallin – “Fresh Catch” – digital photo artwork
Naona “Peaches” Wallin is an adventure-seeking nature photographer who lives with her husband Jason in the small island community of Ketchikan, Alaska. Ketchikan is in the southeast region of Alaska, nestled deep in the Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest on Earth! The Tongass earns the title of rainforest because it receives more than 13 feet of rain a year. Peaches enjoys the challenge of creating outdoor images in any weather. As a nature photographer, she finds time spent in the field invaluable and considers nature to be her classroom. This has been true since she was a child growing up in the southeast Alaskan “bush.”
For three years, she lived off-grid, in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, a location only accessible by boat or floatplane. She describes life in the bush as “revolving around your ability to observe nature: the weather, tides, and seasons.” While learning to read the landscape, Peaches formed a strong bond with Mother Nature-a connection that continues to influence her artistic process and practice today. As a child, she was fascinated by the surrounding scenery, from an awe-inspiring sunset to the wonder of rain splattering on the calm ocean surface. Her childhood admiration for the beauty of the Alaskan wild grew into a nature-inspired artistic intuition. Being in nature grounds her in the present. She sees beautiful imagery everywhere, and her creativity comes alive.
Being raised in the Alaskan “bush” gave Peaches a grand sense of adventure. Two of her fondest adventures are photographing polar bears in the remote arctic village of Kaktovik and a doors-off helicopter ride over lava flowing from Kilauea Volcanoes spectacular 2018 eruption. Her images have been published in Alaska Magazine and featured in exhibits across the lower 48, Hawaii, and Alaska. Her current awards include Judges Choice-Scapes in North American Nature Photographers Association’s 2021NANPA Showcase and Directors Choice in Art Fluent’s annual exhibit Into the Wild. Her past awards include an artist residency at Ernest Gruening State Historical Park near Juneau, Alaska, and Best in Category-Landscape in the 2017 AlaskaWILD Exhibit and Competition. She was also a finalist for the 2019 Chilkoot Trail Artist in Residence in Whitehorse, Canada.
As an active member of Ketchikan’s thriving art community, she wears many hats. You can find her as a featured artist on local art walks, as an exhibition juror, vendor, or volunteer at local art festivals, and as a volunteer attendant at Mainstreet Gallery. Her goal is to bring people closer to nature through art. Peaches’ artwork reflects her passion for “photographing wildlife and wildlands few people see firsthand.”
To see more of Naona’s work, please visit her website.
3rd Place (3-Dimensional) – Sküt – “Agador Spartacus (American flamingo)” – mixed medium
Sküt the artist (Scott Lewallen) is best known as Co-Founder and original designer of Grindr. He currently sits on the Birch Aquarium Revitalization Advisory Board, part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sküt graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. Sküt donates a portion of his wildlife art sales to support the Birch Aquarium at Scripps San Diego, and Aquarium of Pacific in Long Beach, California, two conservation facilities he visits and dearly loves. A proud member of the gay community, Sküt currently works and resides in West Hollywood, and is a member artist and Vice President at TAG Gallery Los Angeles. Sküt creates art to bring awareness and visibility to current issues of conservation and equity, including ocean preservation and LGBT rights.
To see more of Sküt’s work, please visit his website.
4th Place (Traditional) – Cher Pruys – “The Chameleon” – acrylic
Cher Pruys was born in Regina. Over the years she lived in many places including Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Fort Frances, settling into her present home in Devlin, on the banks of the Rainy River with her husband Mark, 4 dogs and 2 cats.
By age three, Cher was seldom found without a drawing tool in hand. She worked in pencil, charcoal and ink over the years, until, she picked up a paintbrush at the age of 35. Beginning with oil paints, she found her chosen mediums in acrylic, water color and gouache.
Although self-taught, her dedication and talent has seen her work juried into 99 International exhibits, as well as exhibits in numerous non juried shows. She has won 75 awards for her work at the International Juried Exhibits.
To see more of Cher’s work, please visit her website.
4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Ilona Abou-Zolof – “Stampede” – digital photo artistry
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 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. I am regularly published in International Art Magazines and participate in numerous Art Exhibitions. It is incredible what we can produce in the digital age and how fun it is.
To see more of Ilona’s work, please visit her website.
4th Place (3-Dimensional) – BR – “The Endangered – ME109-5” – oil on curved canvas
There are three aspects of art that collectively create a conflicting-congruence within me. Firstly, I don’t really understand professional art academia with the objective of definition, labeling, measurement and critique as a collective pursuit. So, I will leave that to those experts. Yet, I am quite happy to define, label, measure and critique myself, as I am charmed by the psychological principal of each to his or her own ‘model of the world’ and all the implications that arise; most relevantly, as it applies to art.
Secondly, to me, in my simple model of the art world, a realist is one who reproduces reality and an impressionist is one who represents reality through suggestion. As an Impact Impressionist, I want to challenge the reality of the world, primarily, although not exclusively, through my love of landscape and wildlife. I want to create a little more drama than “that’s beautiful, wish I was there”.
I want to suggest stories that take impression just a bit further than the represented image. Sometimes, hopefully, reaching different ‘models of the world’ in different individuals at the same time. I want to impact the mind, even just a little – for big things sometimes arise from even the smallest of impacts. My little-thing-big-thing was the nagging question – why are all art canvases flat? Artistically therefore, I strive to make a disruptive impact through my individualised painting style applied on my USC’s – Unique Structured Canvases.
Finally, my artistic conflicting-congruence is influenced by the art buyer who might hang an acquired Picasso on the wall for show, just like a jet, a yacht or a sports car. That Picasso is, of course, in art, not really uplifting to the collector. However, if the assistant to the cleaning lady at that fancy villa on the private island passes that Picasso every day and it makes her heart leap, then Picasso did his job. And that Picasso did, time and again.
To see more of BR’s work, please visit his website.
5th Place (Traditional) – Dawn Whitney-Hall – “Sanctis Leonis” – mixed media on canvas
Dawn Whitney-Hall has been in the field of art making for almost thirty years. Her intrigue in image making has taken her along many paths including painting, drawing, illustrating, ceramics and murals. She resides in Southern California with her family, dogs and garden!
To see more of Dawn’s work, please visit her website.
5th Place (Photography & Digital) – James G. Ferrara – “Panthera Leo” – digital painting
James G. Ferrara is both a traditionally and digitally trained artist. Memorializing both great figures and unforgettable moments in history, James has a unique talent for capturing the essence of his subjects. James started his career as a digital art instructor at the Bergen County Academies, Academies@Englewood, and Dwight Morrow High School. He also founded ChampionshipArt.com, and held a license with NFL Properties, Inc. His work has been featured in The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Beckett Football Magazine (September 2019 – Cover Art), and the Private Collection of Bart Starr, legendary quarterback and Super Bowl I & II MVP for the Green Bay Packers.
His portfolio also includes officially licensed artwork for The Super Bowl, NFC/AFC Championship Games, University of Notre Dame, NCAA Division I College Baseball World Series, Men’s & Women’s Final Four Basketball Tournament, and the NCAA Division I Lacrosse Championship. James has expanded his portfolio to include other historical figures and moments in entertainment, politics and history including Jimi Hendrix, US Representative John Lewis, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President Lincoln, and others. In expanding his portfolio even further James has now started to explore the world of wildlife.
He lives and creates his work in the Greater New York area and is available for commission.
To see more of James’s work, please visit his website.
5th Place (3-Dimensional) – Patti Lomont – “Mama Bear on Thin Ice” – ceramic & kiln-cast glass
Patti Lomont works with clay, fabric, metal, wood and glass to create three-dimensional narrative ceramic sculpture. She has been a glass artist for 30+ years, and in the last eight years has renewed her love of sculpture. Combining a variety of mediums together is a challenging and rewarding pursuit for her. Patti’s sculptures tend to tell stories that are open to interpretation. For Patti, working with glass is all about vibrant colors, and with ceramic sculpture she gravitates towards earth tones and organic forms. The magical alchemy of applying heat to clay and glass holds many surprises. This sense of being in control and out of control leads her on a lifetime of exploration.
Patti studied Fine Arts, Art Education, Music & Anthropology at the University of Illinois and University of Oregon. She has resided in Oregon since 1975. She has studied with many fine glass and ceramic artists over the years.
Mama Bear On Thin Ice is a hand-built ceramic sculpture on a kiln-cast glass base (sitting on a marble lazy susan to make it turn). She is a very healthy polar bear, which is Patti’s hope for this now fragile creature facing climate change and a warming artic environment.
To see more of Patti’s work, please visit her website.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM