John James Audubon was born in Les Cayes, in what is now Haiti, on April 26, 1785. The illegitimate son of French plantation owner Captain Jean Audubon and his Creole servant Jeanne Rabin, he was given the name Jean Rabin at birth. However, when his mother died shortly after his birth, he and his sister were sent to Nantes, France, where they were raised by the captain’s wife, Anne. The couple legally adopted the children in 1794 and gave Jean a new name: Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon.
By 1824, Audubon had grown intent on finding a publisher for his work, but was unable to generate any serious interest in the United States. Two years later, he set sail for the United Kingdom, where he hoped to at least be able to find engravers skilled enough to properly reproduce his work. The decision immediately proved a good one. He exhibited his work in both Scotland and England to great acclaim, fascinating the public with his impressive drawing skills as well as some tall tales he relayed about life on the American frontier.
The success of his exhibitions would finally lead to the first publication of the book for which he is now best known: Birds of America. Featuring more than 400 plates of his drawings, the four-volume work was printed in London by Havell & Son in 1827 and serialized until 1838. Accompanying it was Ornithological Biography, which featured text about the lives and behaviors of his subjects as well as highlights about Audubon’s adventures. He followed these seminal works with 1839’s A Synopsis of the Birds of North America.
Throughout this period, Audubon traveled back and forth between the United States and Europe, overseeing the publication of his works and also selling them in popular serialized subscriptions to admirers who included King George IV and United States President Andrew Jackson. His fame and fortune firmly established, in 1841 Audubon moved his family to a large rural estate on the Hudson in upper Manhattan, where he began work on a more compact edition of Birds of America.
David M. Band, a native of Portland, Maine, now lives in Texas. He has devoted the majority of his life to art as a painter, printmaker, educator and collector.
David is a member of Allied Artists of America, Inc., Audubon Artists, Inc., Watercolor USA Honor Society, Salmagundi Club, Artists Fellowship, Inc., and is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society.
His work can be found in the collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Mo., Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Museum of Texas Tech University, Salmagundi Club, Dunnegan Gallery of Fine Art, and the United States Air Force collection.
He is the author of “Enrich Your Paintings With Texture”, North Light Publications.
During his nearly forty-year career, photographer Michael P. Smith (1937-2008) immersed himself in the larger world of New Orleans’s musical culture. At public events, from music festivals and concerts to street parades both mournful and celebratory, Smith was there with his Nikon cameras and, in later years, a tape recorder.
Beyond his public presence, Smith earned the trust of musicians and churchgoers who let him into their private lives. These relationships allowed him to create a photographic record bearing witness to often elusive cultural and spiritual events.
Though documentary in style, his photographs transcend the mere description of their subjects, pushing viewers to consider the cultural diversity of the world around them.
Don Wright is a realist painter, using a meticulous and detail oriented technique, with watercolor as his favorite medium.
His award winning work has been shown in many juried exhibitions, including the Butler Institute of American Art, the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts and the Trumbull Art Gallery.
After graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Don worked as a graphic designer, and later as the art director for a national advertising agency where he remained for 40 years. As an instructor at Youngstown State University he taught courses in air brush technique, graphic illustration and photo retouch.
Don is formally retired, but is busier than ever as a design consultant, doing commissioned works and engaging numerous activities with local museums.
“I enjoy painting objects and scenes that motivates a strong desire to translate onto paper while working with the challenges of light and shadow” – Don Wright