SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATION CELEBRATING CALIFORNIA'S ECOSYSTEMS.
About Megan Gnekow:
I come from a family of artists and I started learning to draw around the age of 5. There is a long tradition of art and craft in my family, something the women on both sides of my family have passed down to me through artifacts and practice. I have paintings by great aunts and blankets crocheted by my grandmother. Continuing that tradition keeps me connected to my family and their history in this place I call home.
I also strive to pass on a valuable lesson from my father, which is to notice what is beautiful in even the smallest and simplest things. He also taught me to take pride in my work and satisfaction in a job well done.
My earliest drawings were influenced by the kind of wildlife art I saw on my dad’s hunting licenses. At age 12, I decided I wanted to be a scientist but when I began conventional studies in science, the lab just felt too far removed from the landscapes that I loved. So I focused on developing my creativity and eventually took up formal study of both fine art and science illustration.
My art work has always been about storytelling and uncovering hidden connections. My current work focuses on the relationships between various organisms in an ecosystem, with a particular focus on threatened, endangered, and charismatic species. I am especially interested in exploring where land use and landscape-level conservation efforts meet the recovery requirements of endangered species.
Why “7 Ravens”?
I represent the 7th generation of my family to live in the collection of ecosystems we call California. Though I claim ownership of no part of it, California is everything I am. 7 is a curious and powerful number - showing up in cultural traditions all over the world. 7 orients us to the past and the present - back 7 generations and forward 7 generations - and speaks to our responsibilities to both preceding and forthcoming ancestors.
Ravens are my constant companions - they seem to show up wherever I am, a testament to their adaptability in the face of human pressures. I’m enamored with the blue-purple sheen of their feathers and their wide range of vocalizations. Ravens are smart, creative, curious - all things I strive to be.