It is quite some time since I last produced images of living subjects (I've been concentrating on my beloved dinosauria for some months) and it is perhaps unsurprising that I have chosen four species that are, each in their own way, threatened (thought not all are listed as officially 'endangered' or 'threatened') as a direct result of human activity. I felt that a quick explanation was necessary:
First of all, I must stress that I do not dwell on species that are either extinct or possibly about to go extinct out of some kind of morbid fascination. If anything it's quite the opposite: I draw and paint animals from all periods of history because I love Life. And through my artworks I hope to draw attention not just to how precious life is, but also to the role that extinction has to play in the grand scheme of evolution.
I feel it is important to come to an understanding of extinction as either one of two forms: both as a necessary facilitator of the diversification of life on Earth (i.e. a "Good" thing); and as an unnaturally accelerated process brought about as a direct result of Human impact (i.e. a very, very "Bad" thing).
After all, if nothing was ever driven to extinction by competition for resources or through the environmental pressure to evolve into something else, life on Earth would still be restricted to a slimy green film on the surface of volcanic ponds. But by the same logic, if we ignore the delicacy of the role that extinction has to play in the proliferation of life, we run the risk of dangerously unbalancing the natural world.
For a more elaborate explanation of the current status of these four species, please visit my gallery on redbubble.com for more details: www.redbubble.com/people/avsturner