Jonathan Kingdon was born and grew up in Tanzania and lived and worked in East Africa for many years. He is currently based in Rome and Oxford.
“Jonathan is a truly great artist but he is also a consummate craftsman and a leading scientist. He combines an ability to observe nature that rivals Darwin’s; a talent to portray what he sees in strokes that Durer would envy; a capacity to abstract the essentials from an image that approaches Picasso; and on top of all these, a scientific understanding that is all his own.” Matt Ridley
Bridging both arts and sciences, the span of his work is extraordinary, ranging from exquisite draftsmanship to sculpture and painting and the writing of pioneering scientific books. Primarily a writer in the fields of zoology, anthropology and biogeography, he is probably best known for his magnum opus, East African Mammals, an atlas of evolution in Africa celebrated as a ‘Leonardo-like exploration of science with an artist’s eye’.
Kingdon’s paintings and sculpture often derive from elaborations of nature’s signals. The ways in which optical effects are elaborated by fish, birds or monkeys have been fruitful sources of imagery in his work as well as providing him with a unique cross-over between his prime interests in the two disciplines.