Honours & Accolades

Mark Hobson Receives Artists for Conservation's Highest Honour

Mark Hobson Receives Artists for Conservation's Highest Honour

Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 @ 6:58pm

Mark was chosen to receive the Artists for Conservation’s (AFC) top honour for 2017: the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award.  AFC bestows this tribute annually to recognize members for their dedication to the conservation cause and outstanding artistic achievement.

A strong advocate for preserving the wilderness that he loves to paint, Mark has donated numerous paintings and much of his time to efforts to preserve natural environments.

Upon receiving the award Mark said, 'Receiving the Simon Combes award is a huge honour and to be honest a bit overwhelming. Most the previous 10 award winners are world renown artists and activists who have been among my greatest heroes, including Simon himself who I met in the 1990s . To be travelling in their footsteps and to be offered this recognition by my artistic peers is indeed deeply touching. Hopefully through this award attention can be brought to bare on the issues that continue to concern the health of the British Columbia coastline.'

AFC President and Founder, Jeff Whiting asserts: “Mark is a superb candidate for the Combes award. Like Simon himself, he is both highly respected in the artistic community and in the conservation community, where he has tirelessly dedicated himself to conserving wildlife and ancient forests and supporting the work of many leading conservation organizations. Since the eighties, Mark has envisioned and led multiple artistic movements, bringing artists and conservation scientists together to inspire popular support for saving lands. We are very proud to acknowledge Mark’s lifetime of commitment to nature through his art.”

Notably, in 1989, Mark spearheaded a paint-in with 100 artists and a book to protest the logging of B.C.’s Carmanah Valley, near Clayoquot Sound; one of the last great ancient forest tracts. The initiative was highly publicized and played a pivotal role in the creation of a new park and protection of some 80% of the forest. In 2012, in partnership with the Raincoast Conservation Society, Mark again spearheaded an artistic initiative that included a touring exhibit, a book, and a film to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, the only habitat of the “Spirit Bear” or Kermode Bear and the largest remaining tract of temperate rainforest, from a planned diluted bitumen pipeline. The pipeline project and subsequent tanker traffic were cancelled in 2016.

Mark has won many awards for his artwork in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Over twenty of his wildlife images have been printed by Ducks Unlimited as fund-raising limited edition prints and in 2006 he was chosen as their Artist of the Year. On three occasions he has won the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s stamp competition and the Royal Canadian Mint has four times invited him to design coins for their collector’s editions. The National Geographic Society has displayed his work in Washington D.C. Mark is a signature member of the Canadian Federation of Artists and was selected as a member of the Society of Animal Artists in 1997. He was B.C.’s Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1996 and four times Artist’s Magazine annual competition has awarded his wildlife images high honours.

Born in Vancouver in 1953 he grew up in various parts of B.C. alternating with living around the world in locations as far flung as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Portugal. Mark lives in Tofino where he has painted professionally for over thirty years. In order to find uninterrupted time to paint Mark travels north from Tofino into the heart of Clayoquot Sound to his floating studio which is surrounded by wilderness, offering endless inspiration and the solitude to be creative.

About The Award

AFC’s Simon Combes Conservation Award is the most prestigious award and highest honour AFC presents to an artist member who has shown artistic excellence and extraordinary contributions to the conservation cause, exemplifying the same qualities as the award’s namesake.  A prominent member of AFC, Simon Combes was Project Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust, an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from being poached, and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts. On December 12th, 2004, Simon was tragically killed by a charging Cape Buffalo while hiking near his home in Kenya.

The award's trophy design, the result of a competition among AFC members, was created by Peter Gray. Depicting two wildebeests emerging from a mass and fragmenting slightly to indicate the fragility of our efforts to sustain the wilderness areas and the disappearing herds, the trophy is sculpted in clay and founded bronze with a personalized inscription.

About Artists for Conservation

Artists for Conservation (AFC) is the world's leading group of artists supporting the environment. Founded in 1997, the non-profit organization comprises a membership of 500 of the world's most gifted nature artists from 27 countries, across five continents. Dedicated to nurture, promote and leverage its world-class community of artists in support of our natural world, AFC drives its mission through three key programs: Art & Environmental Education; Field Work & Research; and Artist Development. The Artists for Conservation Festival is AFC's annual flagship initiative to showcase, support and further these programs. For more information visit artistsforconservation.org.

Article Credit: Taken from AFC Press Release
Photo Credit: theclayman.com