Naomi Joy Sim- Art For Conservation
Naomi is a talented and passionate artist, who aims to make a difference to helping wildlife and animals through her art!
Short bio about yourself and your career so far:
I describe myself as an animal Artist as I paint all sorts of animals based on wildlife, animal rights issues, conservation or companion animals. I live in Bristol, UK and work in my little studio at home. I also co-founded a wildlife rescue called Severn Wildlife Rescue and help to rehabilitate bats and others creatures. I've built up my work over the years on various themes and after a big hit with the successful release of my Bats of the UK art work I went fully freelance selling my work on my website.
How did you get into becoming an artist?
I've loved all beings and creating art since I was very small, I think they are both in my genetic make up and my nature. As a child I loved drawing little scenes of animals and also rescuing injured mice and various other animals. I studied art and biology until A-level when I made the choice to pursue my creative side and studied a degree in Illustration.
After this I worked as an Art Teacher but began to long to have more time to create and explore – though no idea what! I moved to Bristol and started to work part time, dropping my days over the years and building up my skills and contacts. I had a bingo moment when I photographed an owl at a local rescue centre and painted him. After this I knew all I wanted to do was paint animals!
I worked hard and painted many pictures slowly becoming more confident in my craft and selling commissioned portraits of companion animals as well as originals, cards and prints of my own artwork, until I took the plunge in 2020 during the pandemic to go fully freelance. I don't think I could feel fulfilled in life without being able to create so being an Artist was a must and I was determined to make it happen.
How can art aid wildlife conservation?
Art is a wonderful vessel for raising awareness of issues. It can be eye-catching, challenging, thought provoking, show different perspectives, make issues aesthetically pleasing or be upsetting. Without art and design we would only have words to support wildlife in need, so I believe it's vital to reach the wider the population.
Many Artists are passionate about different issues and by focusing on those and raising awareness, more people become impassioned and therefore change may occur. Artists also may raise funds directly towards different conservation issues and support in that way or create artwork for different organisations or charities to help promote them.
Please highlight a conservation issue you are particularly interested in:
It's tricky to highlight one particular issue I am interested in as I have quite a few that I often paint about! I love to raise awareness of how amazing bats are and I directly support bats to return to the wild after injury or illness. During the pandemic their reputation also took a big hit and as their numbers dwindle in certain species worldwide and within the UK, it's important we do what we can to support them.
I also create a lot of art around the badger cull and the beauty of badgers themselves, as well as anti fox hunting, the horrors of animal agriculture/beauty of farmed animals and raising awareness of British wildlife in general. I am anti-speciesist, therefore I value all beings equally.
What can people do to help with this issue?
Bats can be helped by planting bat friendly wildflowers, putting up bat boxes, conserving old barns and fiercely protecting spaces that bats reside (HS2 destroyed a really important habitat for bats as an example). If you are really interested in bats you can volunteer with a local wildlife rescue or bat rehabber who can train you up to care for rescued bats.
With the other issues I mentioned find your local badger groups, hunt sabs and other wildlife rescue organisations and get involved! Also look into veganism and protecting our planet in general – we all need to work together to make the world better for everyone.
What is your greatest achievement?
Within my art work, my greatest achievement is selling out of my Bats of the UK prints within 11 minutes! That was totally amazing. It also gave me the freedom to leave all other forms of work and to focus on creating what I am passionate about and being true to myself.
Although I'd also say my greatest achievements are all the animals who survive because of actions that I have taken as all their lives are valuable and it makes me really happy that I have helped in some way or another.
What is your favourite species and why?
Since I was 10 I have definitely had a soft spot for Brown Long Eared bats and I have a big tattoo of one on my back, however, after hand raising so many pipistrelle babies, they are also close to my heart.
What advice do you have for people wanting to pursue a career in creating wildlife art?
Firstly, just start! Do it now, create that piece, make that social media account or website! I think I wanted to wait until everything was perfect or I knew exactly what I was doing but I realised just getting stuff out there was actually more important and that there'll never be a “perfect time”.
Secondly, I'd advise not following trends but working out what you love and are passionate about and staying true to yourself at all times (you can say no to work you do not enjoy!), no one is you so only you can create your truth. Thirdly, it takes time but stay determined, ride the highs and lows and keep going!