Vicky West captures those fleeting, telling moments that lay bare both the splendour and vulnerability of the animal world. Affection and respect shine through her brush strokes in equal measure but Vicky’s work avoids the sentimental. Her ever vigilant eye seems to probe for what is coming next and creates an almost visceral tension.
Vicky was a finalist in the BBC’s Wildlife Artist of the Year competition in both the 2011 and 2012. A graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee and Central St Martin’s in London, she has an impressive CV of artistic achievement and a series of awards to her name. Her studies in Dundee focused heavily on the basics of drawing and painting, and despite tentative moves into conceptual work, she graduated as a figurative painter. Almost immediately after graduating, she was drawn towards film-making and animation in particular. In 1995 she completed a short film which was screened both nationally and internationally, supported by both the British Council and the Scottish Film Council. She studied Character Animation at Central St Martin’s before working in the animation industry as a clean-up artist and animator specializing in 4-legged movement.
Vicky describes herself as “a painter and draftsperson who is inspired by the movement and structure of animals. To draw an animal from life is to snatch a moment before the creature moves elsewhere. I study the anatomy of the animal to work out where it may shift to next or may have moved from. My challenge is to find the tension of a fleeting moment. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it will happen. Weight and balance and our attempts not to fall over play an important part of my work. An unbalanced creature is a vulnerable one, and the fact that anything can stand or move at all really is extraordinary, and something most of us take for granted.”
In 2007 Vicky moved to live in Norfolk and returned to her love of painting. She still lives in East Anglia with her family, human and other and lives in the hope that we can learn to respect other forms of life.