While working as the head of graphics at a major zoo, Carrie Cook was bothered by the sight of animals in captivity. That experience led her to focus her own artwork on animal portraiture as a way of promoting empathy and protecting the wild spaces that these species call home. She’s a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, which comprises fewer than 500 artists worldwide, and she’s won a medal of excellence from the group for her painting of the Western lowland gorilla.
“It's clear what needs to be done in most disciplines to achieve a measure of success. With art, there doesn't appear to be a clear roadmap … A top goal would be to have the career and impact of artists like Robert Bateman or John Banovich [who] are not only highly regarded for their art, but also have reputations as conservationists.”