DRAW OF THE WILD
An Artist Promotes Wildlife Conservation Through His Paintings
WILDLIFE ARTIST DAO VAN HOAN G is sitting next to his easel in his 10th floor apartment overlooking the Saigon River. Despite his impressive oeuvre, the 52-year-old conservationist is quick to downplay his artistic credence.
“I don’t consider myself as an artist,” he says. “I don’t have an art background or see things the way an artist sees them, I guess. I don’t know a lot of artists. I don’t exchange ideas with them. I don’t go to an artists’ club. I feel uncomfortable.”
His easel holds an unfinished painting of a rhinoceros, its skin emanating the texture of cracked earth, thick and scorched by the sun. He’s mulling over the idea of introducing a little bird to enhance the scene’s composition.
Soft afternoon light pours over his bookshelves stacked with titles such as Primates of Vietnam and Fishes
of the Mekong and colors the curious souvenirs of a well-seasoned traveler; a wooden gecko, a hand-painted boomerang, antique cameras salvaged from Parisian boutiques.
But most intriguing are the canvasses, which capture the hidden idiosyncrasies of animals in a way more memorable and permanent than photography. One portrays the gentle curiosity of a tiger, another the fluidity of pacific reef herons flying over the sea of Muine.
Greater bamboo lemur, Madagascar