As an animal artist I have a huge passion and respect for the natural world which has led to an interest in wildlife and environmental conservation.
The impact that humans have had on the natural world has been, at times, pretty devastating. We have lost 50% of our planet’s species in the last 40 years and are on track to lose 67% by 2020.
This is why I have partnered up with several wonderful charities that I trust, and whose work in conservation is second to none when it comes to protecting and preserving our planet and its species. I genuinely believe that if we all pull together we can help preserve our planet’s remaining wild spaces and the animals that inhabit them, but we have to act now and we have to act fast. (2014)
Update: Since 2015 over £17,500 has been successfully raised and donated to various animal and conservation charities through the sale of my artwork and prints. You can find details below:
Trees For Life
Trees for Life are Scotland’s leading conservation charity whose vision is to restore the ancient Caledonian Forest which used to stretch extensively across the Scottish Highlands and was the UK’s answer to the rainforest. However, it has now sadly been reduced to just a fraction of it’s former range through deforestation and over-grazing. Trees For Life are working to breathe life back into the Highlands through the planting of trees, providing habitats for wildlife such as Lynx and Wild Boar. In a collaborative project, I donated a painting to Trees for Life and a set of 100 prints were created from it, each sold with a 100% donation to Trees for Life through their ‘Sponsor a Squirrel’ project. This collaboration has resulted in nearly £2,500 being raised for the squirrels. This is an incredible amount and has helped Scotland’s Red Squirrel population get back on its feet. In addition, through two solo exhibitions hosted in 2018, I was able to raise a further £1182.86 through a raffle and a donation of my profits. Finally, an ‘anti-black Friday’ deal raised another £90 through the sale of 5 mini prints.
How you can help: The red squirrel prints have now sold out but you can visit the Trees For Life website to explore further ways of supporting them.
As a regular volunteer with Trees For Life, I had the opportunity to visit one of their sites and interview Karen on the Red Squirrel Project, to see where the money raised from the prints has gone:
Rhinos are incredible creatures which I find almost prehistoric looking. But this beautiful animal’s existence is seriously under threat because of the current poaching epidemic.
This is why I began a year long project with the UK registered charity Helping Rhinos, creating one
large A2 painting a month with all profits being donated. The project culminated with an exhibition at Cornflake in London. So far I have managed to raised over £3,000 for the charity through sales of my artwork!
How you can help: You can support Helping Rhinos by purchasing any print from the ‘Helping Rhinos’ Collection, as 50% of each sale is donated straight to the charity. All prints are taken from the original artworks created during this year long collaboration. Some of the original artworks are still available, with 100% of profits being donated from the sale. You can browse them here.
I am currently in the process of raising funds for the Scottish Seabird Centre which is a fantastic non-profit charity and education centre. I have had 75 prints of my ‘Little Puffin’ painting created and am donating 50% from every sale which is a whole £15 per print! In total £1125 has been donated which is fantastic!
One of the projects this money is helping to fund is the SOS Puffin Project. The number of Puffins on the island of Craigleith had crashed from over 10,000 pairs to less than a thousand, due to a giant plant called tree mallow which grows to 3 metres in height. The Seabird Centre has been working to clear this invasive plant which has seen puffin numbers increase as a result.
SSC are such a worthy charity, not only is it a conservation charity helping protect and preserve our marine life, but the team also put a lot of work into educating children and getting them involved in nature, helping inspire the next generation of wildlife ambassadors. How awesome is that!
How you can help: The puffin prints are all sold out, but visit the Scottish Seabird Centre website for more ways to get involved or to donate:
I was thrilled to be asked to paint a couple of pieces for an auction in aid of the Pygmy Hippo Foundation. I create a mini pygmy painting (left) and also a larger elephant piece.
Together, the two artworks raise £1450 for the foundation, which I was so thrilled to hear!
The Pygmy Hippo’s habitat is being destroyed in favour of palm oil, coffee and rubber plantations. The Pygmy Hippo Foundation is working to protect the rainforests where this unique animal lives.
I’ve been wanting to work with the charity Cool Earth for quite some time, as I love what they do! They work with rainforest communities to show them how they can earn a living within the forest so they aren’t forced to sell their land for logging. I created this Baby Ele which as my 2018 charity Christmas print, and successfully sold over half of the prints with a 50% donation. The remainder all sold over one weekend when I decided to donate 100% of any Baby Ele print sale to Cool Earth after learning of the devastating fires in the Amazon rainforest (August 2019). As a result, a whopping £595 was raised in that weekend alone! Bringing the total to be donated up to £1000. Beyond thrilled!
How you can help: You can purchase a mini 6×6 inch print here: http://toriratcliffe-art.co.uk/product/baby-ele-print-with-50-donation-to-cool-earth
In December 2016 I created a set of three paintings, two butterflies and a bumblebee. I donated 50% of the butterfly paintings to the charity Butterfly Conservation, and I donated 50% of the Bumblebee painting to Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The Bumblebee was so popular with my Facebook and instagram followers that I decided to create a set of 50 Limited Edition prints with a 50% donation to raise money for the bees. All the prints were sold in December, and including the donation from the original painting, a total of £797.50 was raised for Bumblebee Conservation Trust. From the sale of the butterfly artworks, £95 was raised for Butterfly Conservation. This money will go towards creating habitats for bees and butterflies as well as raising awareness of their plight and funding research so we can try understand why we are losing these important pollinators at such an alarming rate. More recently (2018) another £85 was raised through the sale of 5 mini prints in an ‘Anti-Black Friday’ fundraising offer! A further collaboration of bee print sales has so far raised £240 (2019).
I designed a tote bag for SOS which are sold through their website with 100% of the profits going to support their work. SOS are working to protect the Leuser ecosystem, an area of forest in Indonesia which is the only place on earth where Tigers, Rhinos, Orangutans and Elephants still roam together in one place. So far the tote bags have raised around £2000 in profit for the charity. As well as designing a bag, in 2017 I managed to raised £275 for SOS through tiger print sales when I decided to donate the full 100% for one month. I repeated this a year later in 2018 and managed to raise £500 in just 24 hours from Tiger print sales through social media – the money raised is going towards purchasing a palm oil plantation with the intention of restoring it back to rainforest. More recently, I created a painting of an Orangutan specifically for SOS, titled ‘Hang in There’ which has a 50% donation through print sales. The original painting is going to be auctioned in a raffle. I’m selling prints with a 50% donation and so far a donation of £142 has been made.
How you can help: These bags are both ethically and ecologically sound, and priced at only £12! So head on over to the SOS website to purchase one: http://shop.orangutans-sos.org/gifts/98_tote_bag
In addition, you can purchase an A4 or A3 print which a 50% donation of sale getting donated: http://toriratcliffe-art.co.uk/product/orangutan-print-a4-a3
World Land Trust – Pangolins
I created a set of miniature Pangolin paintings which had a 100% donation to the World Land Trust and was thrilled to raise £320 through the sale of these artworks. It is a great feeling that my little painted Pangolins can help real ones out in the wild. David Attenborough, an ambassador for World Land Trust, describes the Pangolin as one of the ‘most endearing creatures’ he’s ever met. Unfortunately, despite having survived on earth for 80 million years, Pangolin’s are at risk of extinction due to the demand for their meat and scales. They are currently the most trafficked animal on the planet, and do not get nearly half the media exposure they deserve.
I released prints of one of my Pangolin paintings and sold 30 of them at £30 with 100% donation of profits
I also support WLT through print sales, donating £1 for every print sold. All in all, my fundraising efforts for the World Land Trust have raised in total £1603.81 (22/08/19)
Turtle Island Restoration Network
With our oceans under threat from climate change, pollution and overfishing, Turtle Island Restoration Network’s mission is to mobilise people in local communities around the world to help them protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain them. So far £332 has been donated which will help turtles, fish and other sea mammals alike!
How you can help: You can support the work that Turtle Island do by purchasing the A3 Turtle Print which has a 50% donation of profits to Turtle Island.
Indonesia experienced some of the worst forest fires in its history this year (2015), putting a third of Orangutans at risk of being wiped out amongst other species like the Sumatran Tiger and the Clouded Leopard. Sadly, the majority of the fires were man-made and they raged for months on end releasing countless tons of Carbon emissions. However, members of the charity OuTrop were on hand working their socks off to fight the fires. Needing financing for equipment, I decided that my Tiger print would be used to raise funds and so throughout November the Tiger print had a 100% donation to OuTrop and in total £250 was raised for the charity which I had the pleasure of passing on. Where would we be without conservation charities!
Extras (documented as of November 2018)
16th November 2018 £100 raised for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance with a print donation.
26th November 2018 £345 raised for Sketch For Survival with donation of artwork.
March 2019 – £100 raised from two print sales to fund local tree planting.
July 2019 – £100 raised for school auction with mini giraffe original
September 2019 – £735 raised for Guide Dogs