David Shepherd OBE
David Shepherd OBE
David Shepherd is known internationally as an artist and ambassador for wildlife. In 1960 he became a conservationist overnight when he witnessed 255 zebra lying dead around a poisoned waterhole in Tanzania.
As a small boy, David collected books on Africa, and he had one ambition only, to be a game warden. His early career was, to quote his own words, ‘a series of disasters’. After leaving school in 1949, he went to Kenya and was politely told that he was not wanted. Coming home again, David was faced with two choices; ‘to drive buses or starve as an artist’. Rejected by the Slade School of Fine Art as having ‘no talent whatsoever’, it was by good fortune that he met Robin Goodwin who took him under his wing and to whom he owes so much of his success. One of his first major fund-raising successes was with the painting ‘Tiger Fire’ which raised £127,000 for Project Tiger in 1973. In 1984 The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation was set up to focus David’s conservation efforts and to increase public awareness and funds for wildlife conservation both in this country and abroad. To date, through David’s efforts and the generosity of the Foundation’s supporters, over £2.5 million has been raised.
David is also known for his landscape paintings, and portraits. These include a 20’ portrayal of ‘Christ’ for an Army Church; the former President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda; HM The Queen Mother, and HE Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi. His life story was featured in the BBC documentary entitled ‘The Man Who Loves Giants’ (1972), His books include ‘An Artist in Africa’ (1967), his autobiography ‘The Man Who Loves Giants’ (1975), ‘A Brush With Steam’ (1983), ‘David Shepherd, The Man and His Paintings’ (1985), and ‘David Shepherd, An Artist in Conservation’ (1992) which contains a stunning collection of over 90 colour plates of his original wildlife paintings. In October, 1995, his latest books ‘David Shepherd, My Painting Life’ and ‘Only One World’ were published. David is married with four daughters and lives in West Sussex.