As a contemporary nature artist, art educator, scientific illustrator and Signature Member of Artists for Conservation, Rachel Ivanyi has spent the last 24 years using art to communicate science. She is also a dedicated conservationist who we celebrate here. In her own words: "I like to inspire others through my art and actions to take pride in their natural backyard, and do what they can to live a life of conservation. My current conservation focuses are on our oceans and the Sonoran Desert region."
Many of Rachel's paintings are inspired by species that she has studied, or convey a specific environmental message, and are used to raise funds for specific causes. Her painting "Net Loss" has been used extensively to promote conservation of the critically endangered vaquita and totoaba. She also donated her time and artwork to develop "Stella the Stingray" for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. For this effort, she created a parody "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie poster, which hangs in the exhibit, and capes are also available for purchase so others can be Guardians of the Gulf, pledging to protect our oceans and eat sustainable seafood. Most recently, artwork sales have allowed her to support Sea Shephard Operation Milagro: Vaquita Defense Fund, Amigos para la Conservacion de Cabo Pulmo, Oceana, and Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias.
Through her classes in nature art education, she encourages people to disconnect from the fast-paced digital world - to slow down, observe, and study nature's wonder and beauty, allowing them to gain true appreciation of the natural world, and become invested in preserving and protecting it.
In her personal artwork, the bulk of her career has been highly detailed representational work focused on a variety of natural history and conservation topics. The last 6 years have been transformational for her. Personal loss, and growth as an artist, has led her to use her current art more for storytelling, allowing her to engage audiences in issues that are close to her heart. She continues to honor the science behind her subjects and shares her joy for our natural world, but pulls people into tougher subjects such as unsustainable fishing, vanishing species, and grief.
Often, such topics often appear too big, too complex, and too depressing for us to confront, so we avoid them and disengage. In the spirit of "a picture is worth a thousand words", she uses art to re-engage and remind people of what's going on in the natural world and our connection to it. In this spirit, she is developing an art exhibition with her mother that will debut in 2020, titled "Catharsis". The impetus for the show is her brother's battle with (and death from) glioblastoma brain cancer, but the overarching concept is healing through art. She wants to give people a place to fall with their grief; to find catharsis in nature and art; to experience and create art that expresses and processes these feelings and celebrates these connections.
Rachel Ivanyi received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from U.C. Davis and Graduate Certification in Natural Science Illustration from U.C. Santa Cruz. Many of her paintings have been exhibited across the U.S. and internationally, are part of permanent museum collections, or with private collectors. Her illustration clients include National Geographic, Scientific American, McGraw-Hill, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and nature institutions around the world. Since 1996, she has taught a wide variety of art classes and, since 2003, has focused her teaching efforts through the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute. She enjoys applying both her scientific and artistic training, bringing attention to lesser-known animal groups and environmental issues.