Martin Ridley is a wildlife artist born in Liverpool in 1967. He now lives in Perthshire, Scotland.
The bedroom of a boy crammed with natural artefacts and walls covered with drawings of birds were an indication of Martin’s future obsessions. He joined an art club and amongst a string of awards won the prize of free entrance to Chester Zoo for a year. From this early encouragement he went on to further education studying an HND course specialising in wildlife illustration at the Carmarthenshire College of Technology and Art. Upon completion in 1988 he was awarded course, faculty and college student of the year.
Following college Martin went straight into self-employment as an artist. Strongly motivated to continue painting professionally, the first decade after Art College was a busy period in Martin’s life. He exhibited widely, working to establish his reputation. Regular venues included “Artist in Residencies” at Nature in Art, Twigworth Hall and John Noott Galleries in Broadway. Martin had successful exhibitions at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge and was elected an associate of the Society of Wildlife Artists. Works were also selected for the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum “Birds in Art” exhibition and Tryon Galleries, London.
In 2018 one of Martin's designs was licenced by the fashion brand "Stella McCartney". His image was used to create a shirt for Justin Timberlake. Justin wore it whilst he performed the halftime show at the Superbowl. An amazing 100+ million people watched the performance and Martin spent the best part of a week doing interviews after the story went viral!
Martin spent ten years in southern England, living in a small hamlet on the banks of the River Severn. The proximity of the river estuary and flooded gravel pits provided excellent birdwatching. Relocating to Scotland in 2000, new natural treasures from seashore to mountain plateau are fuelling him with creative inspirations. Conceptual composition, attention to animal behaviour and habitat detail are combined to create an accurate and yet artistic rendering of subjects. He prefers to depict the wildlife in a setting that records the “whole” experience, featured rocks and branches are likely to be given as much attention as animal content. His perfect day is observing wildlife in dramatic weather conditions and lighting. Martin would describe himself as very fortunate in having found a profession which allows him to indulge his interests so fully and he is still as passionate about his wildlife, the ribbons of mist and the final half hour of sunshine catching the grasses as he was as a youngster.
Recently he has been developing a series of major oil paintings; often using atmospheric lighting and dramatic weather conditions to enhance complex imagined compositions with a narrative any camera would struggle to record.
Most of Martin’s original paintings are now either commissions or works sold directly from the studio or via the internet.