WORDS Debbie Loots
In 2008, Ashleigh Olsen gave up her environmental science career to become a full-time wildlife artist. Her emotive drawings, paintings and photography have won her many accolades, yet she tirelessly continues with her conservation efforts. Awed by her lovely work, we sat her down.
What did you want to be as a child?
A game ranger or nature conservationist; my heroines were Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.
What did you grow up to be?
My degree was in environmental science, but after only a few years as an environmental consultant I decided to pursue a career as a professional artist.
Where do you live and why?
I moved to Simon’s Town from Uganda four years ago. I chose Simon’s Town because I had missed the ocean so much.
What do you see through your window first thing in the morning?
I live in an old Victorian house with beautiful sash windows, so I see my veggie garden and bird bath.
What inspires you?
I love to travel to wildlife areas in Africa, where I gather reference material and get inspiration for my artworks.
What makes your work special?
I feel my work conveys the magic of nature and Africa. Through my work, I try to connect people to nature and provide a space for stillness and reflection.
For more information, visit ashleigholsen.com.