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Darren hiking on Cradle Mountain, Tasmania


Darren Hughes is a contemporary fine artist and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia.

A predilection for drawing from a very young age, Darren could often be found sitting with a pencil and paper sketching anything from collections of objects to local birdlife or studying the illustrations in palaeontology books. Having never undergone any formal art training, he is entirely self-taught, developing and refining his skills over many years.

Darren’s artistic practice centres around a long-held fascination with the natural world and seeks to challenge our understanding and perception of the non-human animals with whom we share our home. His work relates a keen observation of reality and scientific insight, while use of allegory and symbolism explores themes of human impact, the intersection of industry and the environment, and the fragility and fortitude of nature.

Each of Darren’s compositions are meticulously constructed, combining multiple processes and mediums to create intricate and nuanced works that are at the same time classical yet contemporary in their aesthetic. No grid reference techniques are used, meaning every piece is drawn purely “by eye” and come to life over hours, weeks, sometimes months of work.

His ability to encapsulate not only a physical likeness, but an animal’s personality and character, led to Darren being approached for pet portraits by family, friends and colleagues. As requests became more frequent, he began offering portraits on a commission basis and has enjoyed creating drawings of beloved pets from across Australia, Europe, the UK and North America.

Darren works exclusively with the finest, professional quality artist’s materials that are both cruelty-free and appraised for archival excellence. Pure, traditional pigments and lightfastness confirmed by the most rigorous international testing reassures clients and collectors each piece is nothing short of museum-quality.

His work has been selected for various local and national exhibitions. He has been a finalist in the Clayton Utz Art Award and a five-time finalist and two-time category winner in the Lethbridge 20000 Small Scale Art Award in Australia. Two of Darren’s pieces were selected for publication in the tenth edition of Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing published by Northlight Books, and his work has appeared in art magazines internationally.

A portion of all sales from his original artworks, limited edition prints, commissions and collaborations supports animal welfare and conservation projects throughout the world.

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