Peter Schouten was born in Sydney, Australia. From a very early age he developed a passion for all things feathered, furred and scaled – both extant and extinct – which led to a budding career in palaeontology.

His first artistic reconstructions in this field, when presented to the Australian Museum, were subsequently published by them as the book ‘Prehistoric Animals of Australia’. The success of this book led to employment as a technical illustrator within the school of zoology at the University of New South Wales. After several years he left this post to commence his career as a freelance wildlife artist – a career which to date has encompassed many books and exhibitions. One of his most recent commissions, the so-called Hobbit, received significant attention when it featured on the front page of most newspapers around the globe.

His commitment to his craft continues unabated, and he particularly delights in painting creatures that either cannot or have not been photographed, due to extinction or rarity. It is also his aim to draw attention to the unfortunate plight of many of these creatures and to emphasise the need for urgent conservation. This was essentially the premise of his recent books ‘A Gap in Nature’ and ‘Astonishing Animals’, which for many provided the first, startling images of these wonderful animals, either lost or rare. Continuing in this vein, he has recently completed work on a new collection which challenges all of our preconceived images of those truly colossal animals of the past – the dinosaurs. This book, entitled ‘Feathered Dinosaurs – The Origin of Birds’ was published in May, 2008, by CSIRO Publishing. It was published in North America by Oxford University Press (America) in September, 2008, and is still currently in print. This was followed by the August, 2012 publication of ‘Gliding Mammals of the World’ (Stephen Jackson & Peter Schouten), which is a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive monograph of all gliding mammals.

Also published in 2012 was ‘A Comparison of the Heritage Values of Important Australian Fossil Sites’. This
is an Australian Government publication under the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and
the Arts to which Peter contributed significantly.

Currently in production and under contract is ‘The Antipodean Ark – A Prehistory of Australasia’. This book
will be co-authored with contributions from leading palaeontologists in Australia. It will revisit some  familiar ground already discussed in Peter’s first two books – ‘Prehistoric Animals of Australia’ and ‘The  Antipodean Ark’ – however, this book will feature new and astonishing full colour illustrations of the  creatures that populated our prehistory based upon the latest discoveries within this field . It is intended that upon publication (2016) this book will be the definitive reference on this subject for many years to come. Also on the burner is the provisionally titled ‘Megafauna’ – a collaboration with Dr. Ross MacPhee of the American Museum of Natural History. This book will investigate the movement of modern humans out of Africa and trace the impact these migrations had upon the world’s megafauna. It is intended that this volume be a companion piece and prequel to the popular ‘A Gap In Nature’, and publication is anticipated by late 2016 / early 2017.

Despite his busy book schedule, Peter is available for commissioned work.

Peter Schouten is a self-taught and trained artist. His preferred media are watercolour, gouache and acrylics on either canvas or paper. For more information, please contact us at  studioschouten@iprimus.com.au

AWARDS

1983 Whitley Awards for books on Australian animals or history of Australian zoology – highly commended.
1984 Wildlife Society of Australia – annual prize for drawing.
1989 Faber Castell Drawing Competition – highly commended.
1997 Whitley Awards – Gold Medal for most outstanding book of the year : ‘Tree Kangaroos, A Curious Natural History’.
1997 Colin Roderick Literary Award – prize for most outstanding book on an Australian subject.
2002 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Science Writing, ‘A Gap In Nature’, – highly commended.
2005 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – Science Writing, ‘Astonishing Animals’ – Winner.
2014 Winner of the Manning Winter Festival Visual Arts Award, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to cultural development in the Manning Valley
2015 Awarded Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to the visual arts as a wildlife and scientific illustrator, and for his commitment to the preservation and documentation of Australian natural history.

 

MAJOR EXHIBITIONS

1984 Wildlife Society of Australasia Annual Exhibition.
1989 Faber-Castell Annual Drawing Exhibition.
1991 Australian Wildlife Artists Exhibition – Australian Consulate, Washington D.C., (with Bill Cooper, Ray Harris-Ching
and Rod Scott.)
1993 W.I.R.E.S. Wildlife Art Exhibition.
1994 W.I.R.E.S. Wildlife Art Exhibition.
1995 W.I.R.E.S. Wildlife Art Exhibition.
1996 Fine Art Society Gallery, New Bond St., London. ( A solo exhibition featuring tree kangaroos.)
1997 Christies (U.K.) – Annual Wildlife Art Auction.
1999 Levin Gallery, Naturalis Museum Leiden, Netherlands. (A  permanent exhibition of twenty  paintings.)
1999 Christies (U.K.) – Annual Wildlife Art Auction.
2001 Museum of South Australia,  Adelaide. ‘A Gap In Nature’  exhibition. (Solo exhibition  featuring 103 paintings.)
2002 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. ‘A Gap In  Nature’ (Solo exhibition featuring 103 paintings.)
2005 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. ‘Astonishing Animals’ exhibition. (Solo exhibition featuring 80 paintings.)
2007 ‘Animal Ornata ‘ exhibition of 30 paintings highlighting the adornment and ornamentation of obscure wildlife. Held to commemorate the opening of the new wing of the Manning Valley  Regional Art Gallery
2014 ‘Manning Wild ‘ An exhibition of extant flora and fauna of the beautiful Manning Valley.