Chatting with the winner of the Valerie Taylor Art Award

In conjunction with our Celebrations of Sanctuaries campaign for better marine protection, we had a chat with the 2016 winner of the Valerie Taylor Art Award, April Greer.  Inspired by the big blue, we had some very talented artists submit their incredible work, however the panel felt April’s beautiful design was well worthy of the inaugural title.  April will be flying from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland to Sydney, to create her inspiring ocean artwork in Market Lane, Manly on 28 January 2017.

As an artist and environmental student, you have mentioned before that the inspiration for your art comes from nature. Has this always been the case and from when?

I grew up in the Noosa hinterland and spent most of my early years down at creeks banks, spending hours exploring my surroundings and patiently watching wildlife such as platypus, snakes and birds in their natural habitats, I was instantly drawn to them and think this is where my passion for nature and the environment begun, it sparked a passion to want to learn more and protect and preserve our precious environment.  I love painting and combining my two passions for both painting and the environment is a true dream.

What is your preferred choice of paint medium and why?

I use a range of mediums, but my favourite would be acrylics, I like their versatility and brightness.

Could you take us through your creative process from start to finish?

I guess every piece starts from a moment, a feeling, which sparks an idea for a new painting to be created, sometimes that feeling comes from exploring tropical rainforests or snorkeling reefs or simply being in nature or sometimes even watching David Attenborough documentaries!  My art always comes from a moment where I am inspired by something, filled with passion and eager to get it on canvas! 

What are some environmental issues most concerning to you?

My biggest concerns would have to be climate change and pollution.  Especially ocean plastic pollution and its effects on those creatures such as sea turtles and sea birds which accidentally ingest it.

Do you have a favorite ocean critter or landscape that you love to create?

Oh there are so many favourites!  But, sharks are probably my number one favourite animals to paint, I am just fascinated by them.

If you could give the average person some environmental tips, what would it be?

I would suggest starting with simple things such bringing your own reusable coffee cups instead of using single use coffee cups, or buying in bulk to reduce packaging, using eco bags when shopping, learning about recycling and maybe start a veggie/herbgarden...  Even picking up a few pieces of rubbish off the beach on your morning walk will make a positive difference.  I think we can all get caught up in the fast lane and it can be really hard to be mindful of our environment, but every little bit counts.

As the winner of our inaugural Valerie Taylor Art Award, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring artists?

I would tell them to always follow their passion and inspiration, and just give it a go!


 You can follow other beautiful creations by April Greer on instagram: