Annie Appleton, 19, loves African wildlife and is using a talent she did not know she had several years ago to promote animal conservation.
It was while sitting in a Bulli High School art class as a 15 year old that she discovered her gift for sketching animal and people portraits with charcoal.
“It was in Year 9 when we had to do charcoal self portraits for visual arts,” Ms Appleton said.
But surprisingly, given her natural talent, art it is not the 19 year old’s first passion. That is helping save species for many generations to come. And she wants to use her artistic talent to raise awareness.
Ms Appleton is doing that next week when she launches her first exhibition at Wollongong Art Gallery.
She is hoping to sell her original works as well as prints and copies to help fund a trip to Africa where she can see and photograph the wildlife herself.
“I am really big on animal conservation and that is where I want to go in the future with my art,” she said.
I am really big on animal conservation and that is where I want to go in the future with my art- Annie Appleton
Her first official public exhibition has been a year in the making and the African animals in it were all inspired by how she saw them during a visit to a zoo.
From her posts on social media she has found her rhino and gorilla charcoal drawings are the most popular for likes. But Charcoal Safari is is an exhibition of 16 original drawings that includes everything from lions to tigers and many other species.
Charcoal Safari runs from July 7 to 30. The official opening next Friday is free and open to the public from 5.30pm and will feature live entertainment. “It is in the community gallery on the top floor”.
Ms Appleton needs a big space for the exhibition because her original artworks are large. Her parents Dale and Meg and siblings Jesse and Zac are all helping. Charcoal Safari has been framed by Brent Rasmussen, of Photomart in Barrack Heights. He referred her to Animals Asia volunteer Kristie Wilkinson which has resulted in Ms Appleton agreeing to do an original drawing of a Moon Bear for a fundraiser in Darling Harbour in September. “I am planning on doing a big artwork for that”.
Mr Rasmussen has also displayed Ms Appleton’s work in his shop window while framing the collection and that resulted in the sale of one of her larger artworks.