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View Current ENDANGERED Fine Art and Photography Exhibit Through December 31, Meet Artist-In-Resident Geraldine Simmons, Applications For 2021 Exhibit Are Now Open

ENDANGERED Art4Apes Fine Art & Photography Contest encourages artists and photographers who are committed to and focused on using their talent to support wildlife and the environment. View the current exhibit in the virtual gallery through December 31,2020. The Virtual Artist in Residence Program is awarded monthly to the artist or photographer who has submitted 3 or more entries to the ENDANGERED Fine Art & Photography Contest 2020. The Rickie Report introduces Geraldine Simmons, our Virtual Artist-In-Residence and more details of how to apply for the 2021 Exhibit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contest Winners now posted https://www.art4apes.com/blog

ENDANGERED ONLINE

Exhibit Is Open until 31 December, 2020

https://www.art4apes.com/endangered-online

Questions? Lindsey@Art4Apes.com

 

 

 

 

VIRTUAL ARTIST in RESIDENCE

November 2020

 

 

Geraldine Simmons AFC

 

Animal portrait artist, traveler and conservation supporter

Signature member of Artists for Conservationand International Society of Scratchboard Artists

Based in Sydney, Australia

 

 

 

 

 

“What’s My Future?” Colored Pencil © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

“I would love it if “endangered species” became a term that we didn’t hear anymore.

 

Something needs to change. Change is possible.

Change is scary and right now we really don’t have a choice… ”

Geraldine discusses her art and inspiration below. To see more of her wonderful work visit www.geraldineswildlifeart.com

 

 

 

 

Geraldine Simmons Photograph © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

“During my travels in the deep jungles of Borneo, the eyes of the orangutans struck me.”

 

 

This was the catalyst for my mission to raise funds and awareness for endangered wildlife. At the time, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the rehabilitation centre for orangutans.

 

 

 

 

“Hanging On For Dear Life” Pastels © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

I remember how heavy and steamy the air was as I walked towards one of the enclosures. The heaviness eased as my eyes met the most loving, big brown eyes I had ever seen. These eyes captivated me. The love shining from her eyes was the key to unlocking the personality and sentience that I burn to express through each of my works.

 

 

 

 

 

“Not Many Of Us” Pastels. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

“When I draw, the eyes are what I notice first.

They mesmerise me.”

 

 

Once I have drawn the eyes, the rest of my work follows. I aspire to show not just an “animal” but a living, breathing being who shows intelligence and has feelings – who belongs to a family and plays an essential role within our ecology that balances our intricate web of life.

Before I start, I take time to connect with the animals and imagine being in their world – to listen to them so I can tell their story. I take all the time and care I need to perfect each mark I make. This is my way of honouring their story and respecting them at the deepest level of my being. It’s a slow and deliberate process that unfolds one stroke at a time.

 

“We are living at a tipping point for nature at this stage in our history and as a matter of urgency I feel we need to heal our broken relationship with it and treat ourselves and all living things as one big family.”

 

 

 

 

“Hold On Tight” Scratchboard. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

I realised that when an animal looks at you or you witness them looking at each other, you can see there’s no judgement, opinions or need to compare or compete. They show us how to just “be” and that is one of the main reasons why I focus on primates as my main subjects. They teach us how to connect with our hearts. Respect, trust and connection are instinctive to them. These are the very qualities that mankind needs to embrace and stop exploiting if we are to protect and conserve the bio-diversity that sustains us all.

 

 

I feel so blessed to express myself through my wildlife portraits; to reach others through the beauty and innocence that shine from an animal’s eyes. No matter which species I draw it feels only natural to me to portray sensitivity as a common denominator; something that animals don’t hide and inspires us to re-connect.

 

 

 

 

“The Face Washer” Scratchboard. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

When people view my work I hope they are drawn in by some quality that they admire and can connect with. For thousands of years mankind has turned to animals for inspiration, to give us strength and hope, and to lift us up. In what appears to be such a chaotic, competitive and aggressive world I hope my work some how softens that blow.

 

 

 

 

“Bear Hug” Scratchboard. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

“Conservation is so important to me because the thought and very real possibility of living on a planet that is unsustainable and devoid of the life force that nature gives us is simply not an option.”

 

 

 

Life on our planet is dependent on us respecting the perfect balance of our ecosystems that includes all of our beautiful wildlife and every single living thing; no matter how large or small, that is sustaining our web of life. We must leave them alone and give them the space they need to do their job of keeping themselves, and in the end – us alive.”

 

 

 

 

“On For The Ride” Pastels. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Why Geraldine Entered the ENDANGERED Fine Art & Photography Contest

 

 

When I open an email and learn about elephant populations plummeting even further as a result of the illegal ivory trade, rampant deforestation, wildfires, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent pangolins to make shoes, handbags or served as a delicacy, sharks losing their lives only for their fins to made into shark fin soup, or a defenceless baby chimp or orangutan ripped away from its mother to be sold as a pet – initially I feel so shocked I shut down and even feel nauseous.

 

 

 

 

“Ninety-five Percent” Scratchboard. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

I feel like these situations have gone so far that it’s out of my depth to do anything. I take some deep breaths and realise maybe, just maybe, there is hope to turn things around. This is where exceptional organisations like the Centre for Great Apes make such a difference through the ENDANGERED Fine Art & Photography Contest whose mission is to raise funds and awareness about the plight of endangered species. That’s why I support them. Knowing that all funds raised are giving rescued chimps and orangutans a peaceful and safe environment in which to live and be themselves inspires me to enter.

 

How Can Artists Help?

 

As visual artists we have a powerful platform to move and educate others on the plight of animals that are on the brink of extinction. During these times of uncertainty and change I believe we have an opportunity to raise more awareness and encourage the conversations that will inspire people into taking action to preserve these beautiful, magnificent animals and their habitats. These animals need a voice and we can be their voice.

 

 

“I know it can seem overwhelming knowing about or even witnessing the rampant environmental destruction and massive loss of species but we are needed now more than ever to reach as many people as possible!”

 

 

 

 

“Pensive” Scratchboard. © 2020 Geraldine Simmons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

See more of Geraldine’s work at:www.geraldineswildlifeart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rickie@therickiereport.com   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

 

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