Have you ever wondered at how much our emotions govern us? Even when we think our decisions are based on facts, information and logic, more often than not it is how we feel about something that sparks our choice. We make these decisions in an instant, but their effect on our lives, or those of others, continue for days, months and years into the future… Such is the power of emotion.
Emotion is not something foreign to artists. They have the luxury of using this, the very essence that gives them the passion to pursue their craft, each and every day that they draw, paint, photograph, sculpt, design and create their unique art work. Art is going to produce an emotion in those who connect with it ~ and artists throughout history have used this power in their images to influence people across the ages.
Then there is the very real connection between art and science. We are all familiar with the centuries old genius of Leonardo Da Vinci and his work. Both an artist and a scientist… brilliant and pioneering! Unfortunately, we seem to think one should be either artistic OR scientific… we all know how education appears to stress the divide – but why? Some of the most brilliant minds are both artistic AND scientific – neither has to be set in stone!
Looking to the future, the very animals, landscapes and natural wonders we see portrayed so brilliantly on print, paper, canvas, parchment, board, sculpture & design in the art world are often also the focus of a dedicated team of conservationists, who have a powerful vision to sustain the same, in the fact driven, scientific world! A connection between two exclusive groups of people with very different modes of operation, but based on a very real commonality, a seed planted in emotion rising up with vision.
Dig below the surface, and you will find the power of emotion here … The avid conservationist will only forego the comforts of life and work in the civilized world if something bigger is driving him to leave it. In order to fuel the drive, dedication and determination they need to succeed in often hostile environments with challenging climates and politicians, rampaging poachers, uncomfortable living conditions in remote parts of the world – no doubt they draw on the strength of WHY they are out there doing what they do!?
What is so important that they spend years committed to researching and understanding? Brian Tracey, one of America’s leading business authorities, once said “Happiness and high performance come to you when you choose to live your life consistent with your highest values and your deepest convictions.”* Somehow, I think artists and conservationists have more in common than meets the naked eye!
The popularity of this Conservation/Art connection came up through a conversation between my brother-in-law (and wildlife artist) Jeff Dix and avid natural image photographer, Jacqueline Deely – who mentioned that the organization she frequently volunteers for often promote artwork at their events. On visiting the Wildlife Conservation Network I saw a list of conservation projects and speakers scheduled to share their work and visions at the Wildlife Conservation Expo Day, Sunday, October 3rd, Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco. Sure enough there were pages dedicated to artists who pledged support through their art, for the conservation projects of their choice! Emotion no doubt playing a part in which project to support… 🙂
As for me, two familiar names: Dr. Greg Rasmussen and Peter Blinston sparked my own excitement as they are working on a project in Zimbabwe, the country of my birth from where I emigrated to Canada in 2004. Greg Rasmussen embraces a lifelong vision, a lot of determination and good dusty grit with which he founded the Painted Dog Conservation project.
Peter Blinston helped transition the project from vision to programming, and their unique combination of modern technology and the utilization of valuable traditional knowledge from local communities, has helped PDC make a huge impact on wild dog populations in Africa today. Both have given up a lot to do what they do, and to carry out what they have done, with PDC. As a result, Zimbabwe’s painted dog population has almost doubled since the project started.
Since then I have found whole associations and websites dedicated to Artists supporting Conservation. One of my favourite connections is the link between the ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers) and conservation projects around the world.
These photographers translate “conservation science into compelling visual messages targeted to specific audiences. They work with leading scientists, policy makers, government leaders and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it.”
Enough said ~ this is a testimony to the power of vision; from seed to fruition!
*Excerpts from “The Treasury of Quotes” by Brian Tracy. (http://www.yoursuccessstore.com)