John Banovich

John Banovich - 2009 Recipient of Artists for Conservation's Simon Combes Conser


Banovich is among the world’s most renowned wildlife artists. He specializes in large oil paintings of African game, but his subjects cover all continents of the globe. Banovich is talented, prolific and dedicated – both to his art and to preserving the wild places where the animals live. 

In 1982, Banovich attended the University of Montana, intending to double major in zoology and art. However, when he discovered that abstraction was encouraged more than realism in his art classes, he left the school and moved to Seattle, Washington. He received a degree from the Art Institute of Seattle in graphic design in 1987.  In 1993, as a virtual unknown, his miniature oil painting of two lionesses won the “Best of the Show” in Seattle`s Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show. After tremendous press coverage and signing with a publisher, he found the confidence to pursue art full-time, and embarked on a safari to the Okavango in Botswana where he fell in love with Africa’s wildness.  

“Africa moved me beyond words. I wanted to soak it up – every last drop – its enormous diversity, extreme beasts and ancient rhythms. It ignited a fire in my soul and I knew I would never be the same”. Banovich approaches his work like a film director arranging a set in order to express the emotion that underlies the surface appearances. “What’s most important is not what you put in, but what you leave out. To me less is more.”  

Instead of painting things, he paints the essence of things. Banovich has had the privilege of studying wildlife around the globe – often spending months each year in the world`s wildest places. “Today we are living during an extraordinary time, poised between the old world and the new. The human and animal conflict is raging on and is now escalating to the point where the decisions we make today will seal the fate of wildlife for generations to come.”

 His original paintings are owned and exhibited by noteworthy organizations and museums across the globe. He serves on the boards of the Society of Animal Artists and the Craighead Environmental Research Institute. His life and work have been featured in countless international publications, including Africa Geographic, Wildlife Art, Big Sky Journal, Western Art & Architecture, the Artist’s Magazine, and many others, as well as on various television programs aired on the Outdoor Channel, Versus and PBS.  

Though still a young master of his genre, John has won a lifetime’s worth of awards for his artwork, including most recently, the Society of Animal Artists “Presidential Award” for his painting “A Giant Among Giants” – (64” x 84” oil on Belgium Linen) depicting a baobab tree surrounded by elephants.  

In 2003, Banovich established the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation (BWF). BWF fosters cooperative efforts to conserve the earth`s wild places to benefit the wildlife and the people who live there. BWF promotes scientific research and conservation education, facilitates habitat protection of large conservation landscapes and restoration projects, develops creative and respectful partnerships to fund conservation programs, and creates opportunities to build long-term community economic well-being. Through BWF funding is made available for grassroots environmental projects, education programs and often overlooked needs of small groups dedicated to performing the much needed work on behalf of wildlife and the environment.

“I started the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation as a way to give something back to the world that has given so much to me,” Banovich affirms. “I believe there is nothing more important to future generations than wildlife and wild lands. It lifts our minds, replenishes our spirit and renews our passion for living. I am very excited to continue my commitment to the wild places of the world through BWF.”  

Through the Banovich Wildscapes Foundation, he has raised millions for conservation and humanitarian causes. He hopes that his art will inspire us to protect our wildlife to ensure its survival. At 45 years of age, Banovich continues to explore and evolve as an artist, pursuing a deep-seated desire to preserve wild species around the world and, through his paintings, freeze them forever in time. 

At the time of printing this book, Banovich was preparing for the release of his much anticipated large-format, hard-bound book titled “BEAST” – the product of 20 years of planning and vision. Written with David Caleba, with an introduction by James L. Bellis and foreword by Guy Coheleach, the book leads us on a journey through John’s life with 112 reproductions of his stunning paintings, 43 sketches and many photographs. 

When not in India following the tracks of tigers or in Africa searching for the next wildlife encounter, he can be found painting in his studios in Livingston, Montana, and Seattle, Washington, where he lives with his wife, Amy.



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