Martin Aveling – 2007

“Having the opportunity to exhibit with an established and respected organisation such as the SWLA was an excellent platform, giving me greater exposure to the London wildlife art scene. I have since met and benefited from advice of other artists in the industry, and have been introduced to many art enthusiasts, some of whom have subsequently become clients.”

Travel to Sumatra, Indonesia, to visit the orangutan project my parents helped set up in the 1970s. Long term aim is the publish an illustrated book in collaboration with my mother.

It allowed me the opportunity to travel to Sumatra to watch and sketch semi-wild and wild orangutans, something I would otherwise not have been able to do at the time. I had grown up with endless stories of these red apes from my parents, and it was one of my life-long ambitions to see them in their natural setting.

Sketching from life was something I used to do a lot of when I was younger, when living in rural Africa. However in recent years I have not done so much of this, with the pressure to produce work to sell. This trip reminded me of the importance of sketching, and it has since come through in some of my most recent work, freeing up my hand.

I am now pursuing a full time career in art, and gradually expanding my networks abroad. This exposure has allowed me to get involved with other events, such as the BBC and David Shepherd “Wildlife Artist of the Year” exhibitions.Most recently I became involved with Elephant Family’s “Elephant Parade London 2010”, which is the largest public art exhibition the capital has hosted to date. I designed the elephant for the conservation charity Fauna & Flora International, who have projects supporting Asian elephant conservation across south east Asia, in Cambodia and Indonesia. I actually visited one of their projects in Sumatra in 2007/2008, and it’s great to know that my art is now directly raising awareness and funds for that particular project, through the parade.