Nick O'Neill

Nick is an award-winning British artist and scuba diver whose mesmerising portrayals of marine life sparkle like the oceans they represent. Driven by his passion for wildlife and his personal commitment to conservation he wants people to “see the beauty that exists in nature in the hope it will inspire them to protect it.”

Growing up in a family of divers, his passion for the sea was formed over many adventurous trips to the Red Sea, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Moving on from snorkelling to scuba diving at 11 years old was a revelation to him, as it allowed him to observe not only a wider range of vibrant and exotic wildlife, but also the extraordinary effect that is created when light travels through deep waters.

Although he paints many different species, his favourite subject is sharks as they represent a significant personal journey for him from childhood fear to knowledge and understanding as an adult. He deliberately shows them in a non-aggressive light to highlight their strength, grace and beauty, and in 2016 his shark painting Strength won the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Into the Blue category.

A combination of life experience and artistic gifts has led Nick to develop a unique style of painting to best portray the light and life of the underwater world. Before becoming a professional wildlife artist, he enjoyed a successful career in the motorsport industry as a custom painter, and he still employs the skills and even some of the materials he used at that time, alongside more traditional painting techniques. Although best known for his signature black backgrounds, over the last few years he has been experimenting with tinted resins, covering the canvas completely to recreate the effect of the ocean’s surface. This pioneering technique adds a stunning reflective quality to the work which he sometimes highlights with both base and precious metal leaf.

Nick's work has brought him many accolades. He has been a finalist in the prestigious DSWF International Wildlife Artist of the Year Competition every year since 2010, winning first prize in his category in 2016. His list of collectors is impressive, and includes Ferrari, Valentino Rossi, Levison Wood, the Discovery Channel and the Florida Aquarium. A signature member of Artists for Conservation and a Partner Artist with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, he uses his talent to raise funds for many conservation causes such as Explorers Against Extinction , Shark Angels and British Marine Life Rescue .

“I hope some of my personality shows through but my main goal is to let each animal’s personality shine out.”

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