By Kennedy Nyavaya
Talented realism artist Ricky Dampers, whose work has caught the attention of many online of late, believes art can be used to advocate for animal protection and care in the country.
The Harare-bred artist discovered his talent in junior school and with time his undying love for wildlife films and documentaries would soon manifest into pencil charcoal on paper.
In an interview with Standard Style, Dampers said he is using the talent to express his passion and also appeal to the consciences of many to love and protect animals.
“What inspires me to draw wildlife is that I love animals. Therefore, I draw them with passion and love because I want people to appreciate the beauty of our wildlife through my art,” he said.
The self-taught artist’s efforts come at a time the numbers of mistreated pets is rising locally while poachers are wreaking havoc at national parks. This has seen him work with a number of animal welfare organisations on wildlife conservation campaigns and fundraising.
“My artwork acts as a mirror of wildlife beauty and reflects this splendour to the people. I am against cruelty to animals and poaching, so I also use my art as an anti-poaching awareness tool,” he said.
However, Dampers has to juggle his time wisely since he is also pursuing a degree in Industrial Design at Chinhoyi University of Technology.
“It’s not easy to balance the two [academic work and art], but I am trying my best so when I am at school I focus more on academics during the day, then at night I will be drawing. I only get to do art full-time on vacation,” said Dampers, adding that he dreams of owning a gallery in the future.
“I want to own my private art gallery especially in Europe where I will be displaying African wildlife art, and also I want to open a school of art whereby I will be teaching and grooming youngsters at an early age.”
With most of his work being bought beyond Zimbabwe’s borders and as far as Australia, enabling him to pay college tuition among other life expenses, as a result of social media marketing, Dampers appears on the right path.
However, he bemoans a lack of some work material locally and economic hardships that have seen many people unable to “afford buying artworks”.