The news of a well known lion being shot in Zimbabwe has gone global. People are giving their opinions and debates follow. I'm hoping this incident causes a change. Whether you believe it was right or wrong, I personally hope some good comes out of all this.
Those of you that know personally know how much I admire and love big cats. Seeing a cheetah run as a child made my imagination go wild and my brain crave answers. The speed, the hunt, how, where and why. I was mesmerized. I think as children we all love animals by nature unless taught otherwise. I was personally very lucky. Growing up I learned from my peers the respect of animals . Sometimes I questioned certain things but it was all explained very well. That's what education does. It helps us understand and learn to hopefully become better people. I am not anti hunting. I hunt with a hawk every winter in the sport of falconry. But I do believe in harvesting and not trophy hunting.
I think as a society we have a lot to learn from each other no matter what group you or I belong to. Things happen for a reason and hopefully those reasons are good. We take lessons and move on.
To me the Lions of Africa are very inspiring. I see them and I want to draw them. Whether it is at a zoo ,in a photograph or documentary. Their form, musculature and movement. An invitation to let the pencil hit the paper and do what I love. Draw. I am not alone.
For thousands of years lions have been the subject of art. The lion has been depicted from cave art to Roman statues. The world loves lions. They represent power and beauty. They intrigue us as hunters. They have been the subject of many studies and are an important part of an Eco system. And for me personally, they have brought about amazing friends and colleague.
I started "Expedition Art" along with David Levy on a simple phone conversation after we moved on with other endeavors. We wanted something completely different. Something we could be passionate enough to pour our energy into. We as artists are always inspired by the outdoors and nature. It was a no brainier to call our other partners of many years , Thierry Doizon and Kristy Tipton. We were all thrilled and excited. One thing led to another and along our art journey the amazing Terryl Whitlatch joined our little crew . Our "art explorers" team was growing and good things happening. We would later team up with the Gnomon School of Visual Effects to have an amazing fundraiser thanks to Travis Bordeaux and Alex Alvarez ,whom now we consider part of our team.
Earlier I wrote of big cats being a reason for my art journey. I want to introduce a big cat I admire and respect. It's not Mufasa or Simba, but pretty close. I swear he and I live in very similar worlds by our many conversations and our inspiration of the outdoors and big cats. (You were absolutely right Terryl Whitlatch) I am very happy to welcome the very talented and great man, Aaron Blaise to Expedition Art! We are truly honored.
Aaron is an amazing artist and outdoors enthusiast. His love for big cats and the great outdoors has brought us together and it was inevitable to get him on board with us. I have a feeling Aaron and I will have some pretty good adventures together soon. We are excited and have some great things to look forward to! Workshops ,trips and some great educational plans. Welcome aboard "brother bear!"
Aaron recently created an amazing painting I'm memory of Cecil the Lion. The piece has gone viral and well deserved. I personally think art is louder than words. An artist can speak with their work therefore inspiring, educating and creating a memorable piece. You can purchase the print with proceeds going to the organization that was supporting and studying Cecil during his life and continues to study his pride. Print information is HERE.
I leave you with my digital paint of an African big cat that will hopefully help educate society about the amazing world of the lion and its conservation. I would love to thank Beverly and Dereck Joubert for all that you do for big cats and the amazing inspiration you give me. Thanks to my friend, Tinashe Makura for the amazing song. You my friend completely inspired this piece. I listened to this song when I was going to bed (about 2 am) and I had to get back up and paint. I couldn't take the inspiration. Zimbabwe is a very special place to me. See you soon Tinashe!!! Enjoy the video...
Get out and explore the outdoors. See what it inspires in you!
Manny and the art explorers.