3rd Annual Animal Kingdom Art Exhibition Monthly Winning Artists

Seven artists in each category were given awards in the 3rd Annual Animal Kingdom international online art exhibition for a total of 14 artists. Below are the biographies and/or artist's statements along with the artist's websites or emails.

Please visit the 3rd Animal Kingdom exhibition page and contact the artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.


Best in Show (Traditional)
Laura Hines

Laura Hines is an artist and illustrator currently based in Flagstaff, AZ. In 2010 she earned a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, and that same year she worked for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY, as a Bartels Science Illustration Intern. In June of 2011, Laura participated in the School of Visual Art's summer residency program in Illustration and Visual Storytelling in New York, NY. She worked as an Assistant Illustration Editor at Juxtapoz Magazine, and has exhibited in Seattle, Tucson, NYC, Italy, and New Zealand. Her work has appeared in Creative Quarterly Magazine and Juxtapoz Magazine. She is currently a resident artist at Creative Gateways in Sedona, AZ.

Please visit Laura's website if you are interested in purchasing this award winning piece or to see more of her work.


Best in Show
(Digital & Photography)
Nick Dale

Nick Dale wants to produce the most beautiful and powerful images he can, and he won’t be satisfied with a game drive unless he knows he has captured a few images he thinks are worth five stars. These are his absolute favorite shots, and he’s only produced around 100 of them over the years, so these are the special ones, the ones he’s most proud of. They can show any subject – not just wildlife – but they must convey the magic of being there. His favorite animals are the predators, and the wonder of the long lens is that it allows him to fool viewers into thinking they are right up close and personal with a very dangerous beast. It’s that sense of excitement that he tries to bring to his work, and he’s happy to use whatever technology he can find to do the job. He regularly rents an 800mm Nikon lens for close-up shots, and he’s just ordered a Nikon D850 camera body with 45.7 megapixels and the ability to shoot nine frames per second. All that, combined with the wonders of Lightroom, gives him the best possible platform for capturing the beauty of Nature.

Please visit Nick's website if you are interested in purchasing this award-winning piece or if you would like to see more of his work.


2nd Place (Traditional)

“My mission as a painter is to bring a life’s experience with Rock music on canvas. The music, the lyrics, the spirit, the heart, and the soul. The power, the light, the fire, the darkness as well. Since I was a child, I was always painting. In the beginning, I tried to capture what I saw – a landscape, a face, a building, whatever. I tried to master every detail. Never achieved it. Then I realized it's not about creating a perfect copy. It's about getting the essence. For me, everything is connected to Rock music, nature, spirituality. It is inside my heart, inside my soul, and my works of art reflect my soul and my experience of life. Over the years, my style changed, my technique changed, but my passion never changed.”

Crow is the founder, vocalist and songwriter of the Heavy Metal Band Medusa’s Child (1999-present). Since 1999, the band has reached the Top of the music charts in North Europe with several hit songs and have been touring around Europe and Asia for years. Their 2014 album also won a Gold award in England. However, the stages of this world were never enough for Crow. So he turned his microphone into a brush to create mystic sounds on canvas. But it is not enough to just look at his paintings, you have to listen to them. For Crow, as an artist, writing songs, performing onstage or painting is a way to give back to the people, to give a piece of himself to the people who influenced my life. Be it in a positive or negative way. It takes both to make you grow, as an artist, and as a Person.

To purchase this award-winning piece or to see more of Crow's work, please visit his website.


2nd Place
(Digital & Photography)
Julia Moll

Julia Moll is one of the most known horse photographers in Austria. Since 5 years she portrays horses around Europe and creates with her photos authentic images of equine personalities. In her pictures she reaches to represent the horse not just being an animal, but being a creature with character and soul. With passion, an endless love for horses and her ability to "feel the horse", she achieves realizing photographies with a unique signature. Julia is based in Austria, but available for bookings worldwide - for individual as well as for stud photography sessions.

To purchase this award winning piece or to view more of Julia's work, please visit her website.


3rd Place (Traditional)
Susan Fox

The major theme of my work has always been the natural world and its living creatures. For ten years now I've specialized in the animals, land and people of Mongolia, which I have traveled to twelve times since 2005. While my focus is the animals, I also draw on my background in graphic design, illustration, calligraphy and a love of historic decoration to add extra layers of meaning, using motifs from Mongol culture and also their vertical script called "bichig".

I'm an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation, a Juried Member of the American Academy of Equine Art and a Fellow of the Explorers Club. In 2013 I was honored with a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar and recently had a retrospective of my twenty years as an oil painter at the Westhaven Center for the Arts.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Susan's work, please visit her website.


3rd Place
(Digital & Photography)
Barbara Mierau-Klein

Barbara Mierau-Klein’s fine art images reflect her fascination with the beauty of color and light. Her artwork covers a wide variety of subjects, sometimes with whimsical elements, at times with a hint of the fantastical, often with elements of nature, always with intriguing color and light effects. Discovering the world of digital photo compositing a few years ago, Barbara fell in love with the creative possibilities. Layering multiple images, textures and effects feels like working with magic and allows her to design something unique and new that transforms and morphs the reality of the constituent parts. She hopes her art captures your imagination as well, resonates with you, and makes you pause and wonder if only for a moment.

As a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years, many of the photos Barbara uses in her compositions are her own. Yet going wherever her inspiration of the day may take her, she also uses stock photos and relies on textures and artistic elements from others. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Lately, she has found her way back to spending more time in Germany and Europe again, or she is off travelling the world to capture photos of beautiful landscapes and nature. You can enjoy her photographs and publications on her photography website www.barbaramierauklein.com.

Barbara’s more recent published and award wining digital art images are on display on her portfolio site www.artboja.com/art/0xmo9f and in select galleries in the US.


Honorable Mention (Traditional)
Marie Alesia

Marie Alesia interprets natural subjects—specifically the Earth and its non-human inhabitants—which offer inexhaustible options to explore, express and apply her theories of visual presentation and communication. The artist’s focus is contrast, texture and linear movement. Contrast is light. How it highlights, alters and defines—well, everything. Texture adds depth and meaning that is not possible on a flat surface. The ebbs and flows of linear movement do so much more than define the subject matter. Linear movement sets the tone and evokes emotion. These conceptual tools are explored with the goal of creating the appropriate balance between them to inspire the viewer to consider the subject and message with a deeper, or renewed, understanding.

Three impressive cat species, each at the top of the food chain in their geographic areas. The lion of course rules the African Savannah. The black panther is the top predator in southern Asia; while the tiger is the most dangerous and majestic animal in northern Asia. The hawk stands proud and majestic but he also keeps a constant lookout for rivals and other potential thieves vying for his meal. The environment is dulled by his presence and his has Impressive hunting tools—keen eyesight and sharp claws—but an underlying caution and vulnerability remains.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Marie's work, please visit her website.


Honorable Mention
(Digital & Photography)
Sheri Emerson

Sheri has been a photographer her entire life, from a child snapping pictures with her 110 camera, to her first SLR, and finally into the digital world. She also has been an artist her entire life, winning her first art competition at the grand old age of five. In the past year, she has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life” eleven times, Readers Digest “Our Canada” magazine, “Photoshop Creative UK” magazine three times, “Conceptual Images” magazine twice, “Fine Eye Magazine” for fine art photography three times, and “A5 Magazine.” She received the “Best in Show” award for “All Weather of the Seasons” and the “Judges Choice” award for “All Animals” in Contemporary Art Gallery Online competitions, placed second in the SINWP “Creatures Great and Small” competition, and has been recognized for her work in ShiftArt.com challenges as well as winning numerous Facebook “Photo of the Day” challenges. She is also a three-time top ten overall winner in the Light, Space and Time competitions, has received several honorable mentions, and recently won an Artist Showcase for two weeks. Sheri splits her time between Arizona and Labrador, Canada, and is dedicating herself to pushing her photography even further.

Her work is currently being sold on the curated ArtBoja website, and can be seen at www.sheriemersonphotography.com. Her regular website is www.sheriemerson.com.


Honorable Mention (Traditional)
Danielle Kantola

Growing up in Thunder bay, Danielle found both solace and inspiration in the teeming stillness of nature. As she grew, her passion for art took root, becoming the driving force that fuelled her life. She moved to the West Coast and studied computer animation at Think Tank Training Centre in North Vancouver, BC, and later worked in the film industry as a modelling and texture artist. Although the city was full of excitement, her love of nature remained alive within her, filling her with the desire to explore. With a backpack full of art supplies, she traveled, finding inspiration in the colours of India, the cultures of Europe, the rugged slopes of New Zealand, and the bustling markets of Morocco. She currently focuses on traditional art, but remains current in the CG industry through her freelance of digital models and sculptures.

To purchase this award winning piece and to see more of Danielle's work, please visit her website.


Honorable Mention
(Digital & Photography)
Brigitte Thiele

Brigitte Thiele, born in 1953, Germany, is an amateur photographer focusing on nature, especially birds and plants.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Brigitte's work please visit email her directly.


Honorable Mention (Traditional)
Esther van Hulsen

Esther van Hulsen has been working as a professional wildlife and paleo artist since 2004, after completing a Bachelor in Communicative Designs at the Art Academy Minerva in Groningen, Holland. Esther has been drawing since before she could walk and the main subject has always been animals and nature.

Originally from Holland, she moved to Norway in 2006 and has been inspired by the wild, rough Scandinavian nature ever since. Since 2010 ten books illustrated by Esther have appeared, which have been published in many countries, like Norway, Denmark, France, Holland, Russia, Japan and China. Some of the books have also won awards. Esther enjoys painting and drawing both now living and extinct animals. "Extinct animals are exiting to create, since you can not rely on models of live animals or photo reference. That way you must use your anatomical knowledge, but also some creativity, in order to recreate lifelike creatures. It´s fun to be able to have some artistic freedom, as we do not know completely how these animals looked!"

Esther is a member of the Society of Animal Artists, and has participated in several shows of the Bords in Art exhibition in the Leigh Yawkee Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. She has also created commissioned illustrations for among others National Geographic and Nature Magazine. Although she loves drawing and painting all animal species, the animals of the Northern European forests hold a special place in her heart. "There is just something about lynxes, foxes, moose, dear, wolves, bears and other forest creatures that I can not resist. Maybe it is because these animals live so close by our homes, but are still so elusive and shy. It makes them all the more special"

To see more of Esther's work, please visit her website.


Honorable Mention
(Digital & Photography)
Julie Berglund

As with most of the general populace, Julie spends the majority of her days in front of a monitor, with deadlines looming; white light burning her eyes; and, stress eating away her life on a GOOD day at work. By day, Julie is a virtual hybrid of graphic artist and website developer, able to switch between her artistic and technical hats at the client’s whim. By night (and, morning, and any minute available), her camera comes out and she jumps into her alter ego of wildlife and landscape photographer. Photography is her way of escaping that work stress. She can take her camera and disappear into the woods, or the city, or the backyard, listening for familiar sounds of birds and critters. Looking for that one image that most people never see. She knows she’s blessed with the ability to take a little time here and there to pursue her passion - as well as having a VERY understanding wife and family. Her goal as a photographer and artist is to share that passion with others. To facilitate a smile, or genuine awe, from another person; to open their eyes to what is in the world around them if they simply stop and look. That is one of her joys in life.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Julie's work, please visit her website.


Honorable Mention (Traditional)
Iman Khatib

As a fine artist based in Northern California, Iman Khatib is always looking for the next opportunity to translate life experiences into art. Even at a young age, Ms. Khatib showed an interest in the unique approach of many artists and yearned for a chance to break into the art industry herself. Through inspiration from her surroundings, she is able to bring life to her artwork while making a lasting impression. One of the defining principles of this up-and-coming artist is a deep commitment to helping establish an open dialogue between the viewer and the artwork itself. Each piece is meant to be interpreted differently by each individual.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Iman's work please visit her website.


Honorable Mention
(Digital & Photography)
Youri Chasov

Youri Chasov has been a professional artist since 1972 and has trained at the Russian Academy of Art. He has participated in more than 200 exhibitions in Europe and US and won over fifteen awards in Russia and his native. Estonia. His main goal with his art is the transformation of reality into a modern vision of art in the form of nature, animals, colors, and shapes.

To purchase this award winning piece or to see more of Youri's work, please email him directly.