Organizations* : SAA
John Seerey-Lester was born in Manchester, England, where he grew up with a sketchbook in hand. Receiving his first commission at age thirteen, Seerey-Lester later worked as a journalist, freelance writer, editor of several magazines and worked in advertising and public relations in both the private sector and local government in the United Kingdom before he became a professional artist in 1974.
It was in 1980, after making his first trip to East Africa, that Seerey-Lester began painting images of the natural world. His respect for the work of fellow English artist, David Shepherd, heavily influenced his decision to travel to Africa and paint wildlife. This became a turning point in his career. Two years later, he moved to the United States.
Although now known for his wildlife art, Seerey-Lester also paints figurative works and portraiture during his travels around the world. Preferring to paint only wildlife subjects he has seen first hand, Seerey-Lester has traveled to most parts of Canada, Alaska, China, Africa, Antarctica, South and Central America, India and Nepal.
His works have a mysterious and mystical appeal, directly related to his ability to paint the unusual. His skill in painting mist and snow, as evidenced in Polar Lookout, and wildlife in subdued light, such as Out of the Darkness Into the Light, or Dark Presence, has created a demand for his ability as a painter that has few rivals.
As well as being widely regarded as an artist, Seerey-Lester is an excellent teacher and has taught at Disney Animation studios. He paints alongside students and allows them to learn directly from him. His way of taking neither his work nor himself too seriously always him to teach in an interesting and sometimes humorous fashion. As one student put it, “I’ve never learned so much, and simultaneously had so much fun, in all my educational experiences.”
Seerey-Lester has received many awards and much recognition for his outstanding achievements in the field of wildlife art. Along with being presented to His Royal Highness Prince Phillip for a commendation regarding his work in conservation, he has been chosen to exhibit works in the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” and “Wildlife: An Artist’s View” shows each year since 1983, and his paintings are in their permanent collection. He has also displayed in several other museums such as the Gilcrease Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and in permanent collections such as the Bennington Center for the Arts and Nature in Art Museum. He is a member of Oil Painters of America and the Society of Animal Artists, and was chosen as Artist of the Year at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston for 2004.
Reference: Communication with artist