Posted by Al Agnew
on December 14th, 2011
Through Al Agnew’s art, and work as a conservationist, millions of dollars have been raised to benefit wildlife through work with such organizations as Ducks Unlimited, The National Wild Turkey Federation, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Black Bass Foundation, and the Wolf Recovery Project. For instance, Agnew was commissioned to produce the art for the first fund-raising poster for the Wolf Recovery Project’s work bringing wolves back to Yellowstone National Park, and in the first year sales of the poster raised well over a million dollars. That poster and a second one are still raising money many years later, and one of Agnew’s greatest feelings of satisfaction is to visit Yellowstone, which he does many times each year, and watch the wolves whose presence he was in some small way instrumental in returning to their rightful place in our greatest National Park.
An avid angler and self-described “river rat”, Agnew has been an active advocate in defense of wild rivers and native fish in both his native Missouri Ozarks and in other parts of North America. His is a well-respected voice on the ecology and fisheries of the rivers of the Ozarks and elsewhere, and he is a sought-after public speaker on fishing and art throughout the Midwest. Al’s love of fishing and rivers has also been channeled into producing eight fisheries conservation stamps for five different states, as well as artwork for conservation license plates, publications, and posters. He has served on advisory boards for protection efforts on such issues as in-stream gravel mining and fisheries management, and he is active in The Smallmouth Alliance, a national organization devoted to conservation of smallmouth bass fisheries. His paintings depicting fly-fishing on the pristine streams he often frequents have done much to raise awareness of their beauty and value among both anglers and the general public.
Al has exhibited internationally for many years at exhibitions such as Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” and “Animals, the Artist’s View”, as well as the Society of Animal Artists’ “Art and the Animal” annual exhibition. He had the honor of being one of only a few American artists invited by the Malilangwe Artist Trust to spend two weeks painting in the field in Zimbabwe to raise awareness of the plight of wild animals in that country. His work was featured numerous times Wildlife Art News and in U.S. Art, where he was named to the Artists’ Hall of Fame. In addition, he has been the subject of articles extolling his work in Sporting Classics, In-fisherman, and North American Fisherman magazines, and has done illustrations for those magazines as well as Outdoor Life and Field and Stream, Fur, Fish and Game, and even Russia’s most prominent fishing magazine. He has been commissioned by Bass Pro Shops to create over 75 catalog cover illustrations, more than any other artist, and has been featured on their TV production. His fish illustrations have also been published in a number of books and other publications.
To view an Al Agnew original is to be given the gift of a moment suspended in time. Whether on safari in Africa, trekking across the wilds of Alaska, floating a wild Western trout stream, or roaming his native Ozarks, Agnew focuses all his attention on his subjects with the intensity of a predator. The sights, sounds, even the air that is breathed are channeled from his eye and mind to the stroke of his brush in exquisite detail. It is the culmination of his knowledge, love, and respect for the natural world, combined with his extraordinary skill of interpretation, that have made his work so effective in advocating the conservation of our natural resources, as well as earning him numerous honors and awards such as being designated as “Featured Artist” at prestigious national art shows including the Southeastern Wildlife Art Exposition, Dallas Safari Club Convention, Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show, NatureWorks Wildlife Art Show, the Michigan Wildlife Habitat Foundation Art Show, and Special Guest Artist for the National Zoo Wildlife Art Show in Washington, DC.