Martin Aveling (Mart) is a wildlife artivist whose passion for the natural world was born out of his surroundings at a very young age. While his parents were working to protect mountain gorillas on the steep forested slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, Mart picked up pencils and drew them.
Mart has been shortlisted for the finals of the DSWF ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year’ competition (WAY) the most number of times, and in 2021 he was awarded the inaugural ‘David Shepherd Art of Survival Award’ for his work promoting young artists and conservationists.
With Sudan - the last male northern white rhino, Ol Pejeta, Kenya.
Mart coined the phrase ‘wildlife artivism’ in an effort to encourage stronger calls to actions in the creative output of working wildlife artists.
“We move from one thing to the next so quickly these days that without ever showing the ugly side of protecting wildlife people risk forgetting it’s even there. We can’t expect people to feel motivated to take action and protect wildlife if they think everything is OK. By highlighting, in art, the challenges faced by wildlife, it presents a more balanced and honest narrative. Art has an amazing way of letting us contemplate certain uncomfortable truths in a more palatable space. Good wildlife artivism doesn’t ever compromise on sincerity.”
'A Plastic Plague' - drawing of a green sea turtle.
Mart is a partner artist of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and was instrumental in establishing a new category at WAY for young artists, ‘Human Impact’. The brief invites people to tell a conservation story in an artwork (open to artists between 16-22 years). In 2020 he created ‘The Ingrid Beazley Award’ for the winning artist, comprising a grant worth £5,000, designed to support wildlife, encourage creativity, and tackle the growing issue of eco-anxiety.
Mart is currently partnered with Wild Philanthropy on a new art collection, investment in which helps to restore nature and support the people living alongside it. Borrowing from the crypto art model of community, utility and exclusivity, his 'Wild Art Philanthropy IRL' collection keeps yielding bespoke art for the community at no extra cost beyond their initial investment. The focus of the philanthropic work is in Kenya, where Mart lived for a quarter of his life. His motivation is to give back to a country that gave him such a happy childhood.
Mart is a signature member of ‘Artists For Conservation’ and global ambassador for Derwent Pencils. He has staged successful solo exhibitions in Kenya, the UK and the USA, and has raised over £50,000 for wildlife charities from the sale of his art.
Mart currently lives in Bristol with his family; Amy, Marella and Jack.
Drawing a Hyacinth macaw for Derwent's Pastel Pencil range.