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They say a picture paints a thousand words – and that’s certainly true for these remarkable artists.
These amazing images have the power to provoke a huge range of emotions in the viewer – and prompt them to think about the way we exploit animals in our daily lives.
Here we round up some artists whose work will blow your mind.
1. Dana Ellyn
With a powerful voice and astonishing talent, vegan artist Dana Ellyn has been in the spotlight for her animal-themed art.
The DC-based artist poses the question ‘Why do we love some animals and eat others?’ in her hard-hitting paintings.
The painter dabbles in ‘topics you’re not supposed to discuss at a dinner party: religion, politics, divorce, not wanting kids’, she says.
She became a full-time painter in 2002, when she decided to leave a corporate job and paint in order to ‘make people happy’.
2. Ruby Roth
World’s leading author and illustrator of vegan and vegetarian books for children – Ruby Roth – was previously teaching art at an elementary school, when she was inspired by her students to write That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals in 2009, the first book of its kind in children’s literature.
Her goal is to create books that use words and images to convey her message, to help kids think critically and ask questions, all while showing the power of different forms of art.
Roth’s newest title is The Help Yourself Cookbookfor Kids, introducing healthy habits to children from a young age.
3. Andrew Tilsley
Vegan artist Andrew Tilsley is known for his obsession with animals – which prompted him to become a biologist, and later, a painter, and wildlife photographer.
A lifelong vegetarian and now a vegan, Yorkshire-born Tilsley always saw animals as ‘sentient, autonomous beings – something equal to me, but fascinatingly different’. He makes extremely intricate drawings of animals and paintings that depict animal testing, or the irrationality of eating meat, drawing inspiration from his anger.
“To me, there is no inconsistency in being both a biologist and an animal rights advocate. Indeed, I would argue that if the one is practiced fully and correctly, then the other should follow automatically,” he says.
4. Vegan Sidekick
Rich of Vegan Sidekick is renowned for his brilliant and cutting satirical work that he posts on his Instagram page with over 130,000 followers.
The 35-year-old artist from the UK began drawing comics in 2013 as a way to advocate non-violence and compassionate living.
“There are seven billion of us on this planet, so if one person has their hands firmly over their ears at that time, then find someone who doesn’t,” he says about activism.
The artist approaches activism with humor, portraying many traditional meat-eater arguments against veganism, and highlighting them as hypocritical and illogical. Rich has also compiled his comics into several books.
5. Jo-Anne McArthur
Jo-Anne McArthur uses photography as a critical tool for her activism, portraying animal suffering, while also celebrating the joyful moments of rescue.
“I combine my passions – photography, and, my concern for animals – to help make the world a better place for our non-human kin. Exposing the truth is the only hope for animals,” says the Canadian artist.
An award-winning photojournalist, author and educator, McArthur has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over a decade – and her work has benefited over a hundred animal organizations.
6. Melinda Hegedus
Another vegan artist that approaches veganism with humor is Hungarian illustrator Melinda Hegedus, who uses her online platform to campaign for animals.
Her sarcastic artworks are often accompanied by comments on the animal agriculture, pointing out the absurdity of eating meat and drinking another species’ milk.
Hegedus creates art to inspire others to ‘make the connection’: “These vegan themed illustrations are basically manifestations of all the thoughts that rush through my head every day, as I come across people consuming other sentient beings.”
7. Dan Piraro
Famous for his syndicated cartoon panel Bizarro – which is published in over 360 papers – Dan Piraro makes effective social commentary using surrealistic images.
A painter, illustrator, and cartoonist, Piraro won ‘Cartoonist of the Year’ in 2009 and the ‘Genesis Award’ from the Humane Society more than once.
“I’m a vegan and an animal rights activist, and if somebody had told me five years ago that I’d be standing here today, telling you I’m a vegan and an animal rights activist, I would have laughed in their face – and then I would have covered them in barbecue sauce and eaten them,” he jokes.
Incorporating vegan and animal cruelty themes into his highly detailed artwork, Piraro is now shifting his work as a cartoonist towards painting, looking to establish himself as a fine artist.
8. Twyla Francois
A farmed animal cruelty investigator for over a decade, Twyla Francois’ work has been the focus of a number of documentaries and has led to the closure of facilities, animal cruelty convictions, and corporate animal welfare policy reforms.
“All of my work – investigative and artistic – seeks to challenge our basic beliefs about farmed animals and foster a sense of compassion for all animals,” says Francois.
Through her art, Francois has opened the hearts and minds of many to the power of their food choices to create a kinder world.