David Shepherd1931 -
Born: April 25, 1931, London, England
Following his school years in 1949, painter David Shepherd didn't hesitate to leave his native Great Britain for Kenya to fulfill his one life-long dream of becoming a game warden. Reality set in, however, when he met with the Head Game Warden in Nairobi and was told he wasn't wanted. Having been rejected, Shepherd worked for a brief period at a hotel on the Kenya coast to earn money for his trip back to London. Upon arriving home, he decided he wanted to be an artist, and applied to the Slade School of Fine Art, but was rejected there too; Shepherd believes himself lucky that marine and portrait painter Robin Goodwin took him on as a pupil from 1950 to 1953, providing him with a firm foundation for a successful artistic career.
Following his time under Goodwin's tutelage, Shepherd began painting aviation scenes and met with success. In 1960, the Royal Air Force flew him to Kenya as their guest and asked if he could paint some local subject matter; to answer this request, Shepherd painted a rhino and charged the RAF ₤25 for his effort. After this point, the painter turned to wildlife subjects, with an emphasis on African wildlife, almost exclusively. A 1962 exhibition at London's Tryon Gallery sold out, and Shepherd has since gone on to become one of the most highly esteemed wildlife painters of his era. In his personal life, he and his wife Avril have raised four daughters and live in West Sussex, England, where he also keeps his studio.
Shepherd has exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa, and has been the subject of many television documentaries chronicling his life as an artist, as well as his profound interests in wildlife conservation and the preservation of steam locomotives. He has published several books, including his autobiography, The Man Who Loves Giants, and holds an honorary fine arts degree from New York's Pratt Institute. In addition to these honors, he has been recognized by both the British and Zambian governments for his dedication to nature and wildlife.