STEPHEN MESSAGE was born in 1968 in the village of Benenden, Kent, England where he still lives. It is here around the country lanes, meadows, woods and nearby Romney Marsh, that many of his inspirations for paintings derive.
After gaining a diploma in Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art and Technology, Stephen specialised in natural history illustration at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. Before graduating in 1988 he was one of only two students on the course selected for a scholarship to Belize, Central America to study the Jaguar and its jungle habitat, sponsored by Jaguar Cars plc.Since leaving college he has worked as a freelance artist. In 1989 he won the Richard Richardson Award and has twice been runner up in Bird Illustrator of the Year. Recent awards include The Birdscapes Gallery Art Award for 'Birds in their Enviroment' at the Society Of Wildlife Artist Exhibition 2008, highly commended in the 2008 National Exhibition Of Wildlife Art and the Birdwatch Artist of the Year 2017.
He was commissioned by the RSBP to illustrate their 1994, 1997 and 1999 calendars plus numerous educational poster designs and greeting cards. Other projects have included a series of over twenty WWF 'Sanctuary' wildlife t-shirt designs, many of which have been worn by celebrities and soap stars, artworks for various bird magazines and illustrations for Wildlife Art Ltd.
Books illustrated include, Waders of Europe, Asia and North America (sole illustrator) published December 2005 by A & C Black, The Birds of Greece, Bill Oddie's Birds of Britain and Ireland, A Countryman's Diary, several of the Where to Watch Birds In Series, Bird Watchers Pocket Fieldguide, plate artwork for A Field Guide to The Birds of South East Asia, cover designs for the RSPB Handbook of British Birds and all 230 artworks for the app, Birder - Guide to Birds of Britain and Ireland.
His original paintings are exhibited in both England and Scotland including, The Society of Wildlife Artists annual exhibition, Mall Galleries London, Dungeness RSPB Reserve Kent, British Birdwatching Fair Rutland Water, his annual autumn One Day Exhibition in his home village of Benenden Kent and Birdscapes Gallery Glandford, Holt, Norfolk. Original works are held in private collections in Britain, Europe, America, Australia and South Africa many of which have been undertaken as private commissions.
Stephen has travelled in search of wildlife to Europe, The Middle East, Asia, North & Central America and East and West Africa gaining first hand knowledge of his subjects for new images to capture on 'canvas'.
An experienced birdwatcher and an active member of Kent Ornithological Society and Dungeness Bird Observatory, many of his art and design works are donated for the societies' publications.
He paints in a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolour and gouache where he either captures the species as a detailed potrait or alternatively is conscious at times to portray wildlife within the 'bigger picture' of its natural habitat.