Hodges is passionate about animals and this clearly shines through his
intricate and personal drawings. It shows in his every day life, whether in
befriending a dog on the street, stroking rescued wolves, touching a wild grey
whale or cradling an orphaned orang-utan. It is also transparent in his
commitment to helping preserve wildlife.
his career he has actively supported charities
that have captured his imagination and touched his heart, such as Greenpeace. His first major solo
exhibition in the Mall Galleries raised £90,000 for The Born Free Foundation and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), 100% of all sales. "I can’t
imagine making a living from drawing wildlife and not giving something back”
says Gary, almost apologetically. So far he has raised well over half a million
pounds for wildlife from the sale of his originals and limited edition prints.
Left: GARY WITH ORPHANED ELEPHANT IN KENYA
Right: GARY WITH RESCUED FOX AND BADGER AT WILDLIFE AID, UK
has been drawing animals full time for twenty years. Unbelievably, print
publishers initially rejected the idea of pencil drawings, caught in the myth
that the public would only buy colour. Fortunately Greenpeace disagreed
and published his first limited edition prints in 1987. The two editions of 850
copies at £8.50 each print completely sold out and have been in such demand that they have sold on the secondary market for as much as £3,500. Since then
Gary has become one of the world's most successful and best loved wildlife
artists, publishing his own work, selling over 105,000 personally signed and
numbered prints from 124 limited editions (113 sold out).
of Gary's appeal is his love of animals, his personal attachment to his
drawings and the people who buy them. He makes many public appearances and has
deliberately aimed his art at a wide range of collectors rather than focusing
on an elite. His passion for wildlife and wild places has taken him to many
parts of the world on research trips, including Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania,
Portugal, Nepal and Australia. As a result we are rewarded with his
extraordinarily intimate drawings of African and Asian elephants, tigers, lions,
orang-utans, wolves, lemurs, snow leopard, jaguar and so many more. He gains additional inspiration from his wonderful home in the pine-clad hills of Ibiza.
SNOW LEOPARD 1993 PENCIL DRAWING
Born in 1954 in south London, UK, he displayed an early interest in art which
gained him school qualifications, but he left at the age of 16 and entered the
printing industry. His style and highly developed artistic techniques are
essentially self-taught. The regimented world of printing presses and paste-up
rooms were not for Gary and for many years in the 1980s he worked with
children, running and building an adventure playground at Elephant and Castle,
a deprived area of London at that time.
Over the years Gary's drawings have also given pleasure to many
celebrities including Martina Navratilova, Michaela Strachan, Nigel Marven, Sally Gunnell and Rula Lenska. He
has exhibited countless times and his work has reached record prices at the
famous Christies auction house. It is also held in collections including the
Nature in Art Museum in Gloucester, UK and the Government Art Collection (UK). His artistry has been the subject of
three film documentaries, two televised. He has received many awards from his
peers and his art was voted the "Visitors' Choice" at the Society of
Wildlife Artists' Exhibition 2007, London, out of over 400 exhibits.
the last year Gary has shown his determination to push his own limits.
In late 2009 he accepted the task of decorating a five-foot fibre-glass
elephant in aid of the Born Free Foundation. As one of the London
Elephant Parade elephants Tattoo - Born to be Wild raised £12,500 at auction.
Since then he has spent time in Australia researching new drawings and returned to release a new book Drawn to the Soul, published to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition of his work at Nature in Art.
"An artist who
Virginia McKenna, Actress and Co-founder of the Born Free