Bone and Harvey do more than just paint beautiful images of wildlife, they actively work to save it. As conservationists by trade and artists by talent, the artists strive to protect and conserve natural habitats and animal rights.
Bone is known for saying: “Don’t paint it unless you’ve studied it, been chased by it, or done something to save it.”
When the Zimbabwe native worked as a tour guide in the Zambezi Valley, he sketched the animals he encountered. It wasn’t until the late ‘80s that Bone became a full-time artist, using his experiences observing and photographing wildlife to paint photorealistic images.
“Conservation has always been my prime mover,” Bone says. “I see the art two-fold: one is a vehicle to achieve my aims in conservation…the other is sitting behind the easel and the passion comes out in trying to be absolutely true to wildlife.”
Bone founded the Forever Wild Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife in Africa. The foundation’s projects have included the collaring and tracking of cheetahs and wild dogs, and bolstering the lion population.
“I was a conservationist and a wildlife enthusiast long before I was an artist, and I’ll be that long after I finish painting,” Bone says.
The reason Harvey depicts his subjects so well is not just his technique, but his unwavering commitment to conserve the species he paints.
Harvey has successfully blended his passions working as an artist, scientist, conservationist, diver, and an angler in support of “catch and release” ethics. Harvey uses his art to draw attention to marine life that suffers from over-fishing, global consumption, and poor resource management.
“The reason why I spend so much time on the research and education and conservation is because the species I like to paint and interact with and catch and dive with are all in different states of decline,” Harvey says.
Harvey’s research includes groupers, lion fish, reef fish, and turtles, but mostly focuses on large species such as sharks and sailfish.
In 1999, he formed the Guy Harvey Research Institute in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University to protect fishery resources on a global scale. In 2008, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation was established to educate and fund projects that conserve marine environments.
“Through research you achieve education,” Harvey says. “If you have an educated community or foundation, then you can effect conservation. It can’t happen without the very first step, which is gathering the data.”