Safari Ltd® figures are known for being the most accurate and well-researched educational animal toys currently available anywhere. They provide a reliable way for people to understand how an animal looks, even if they may not be able to see that animal in its natural setting. As it turns out, this makes Safari Ltd® toys a valuable tool for artists who use animals as their subject matter.
We spoke to artist Jennifer Walker, aka “The Pudgy Bug”, who utilizes Safari Ltd® figures to create her whimsical paintings of animals in fun, imaginary situations. Jennifer enjoys exploring the natural world around her, and is drawn to the creatures that inhabit these ecosystems. So naturally, she’s a SafariFan!
Though she’s been collecting the figures for many years, she began incorporating Safari Ltd® toys as references for her paintings several months ago. Jennifer tells us, “Having a three-dimensional figure helps me to understand how the animal would look from different angles, and I can also light the figurine to see the forms and shadows.”
Having an actual figure in front of her also helps her make her animal anatomy more convincing, even if she’s painting something the animal could never actually do in reality, like playing chess or doing yoga. In Jennifer’s work, animals enjoy themselves, engaging in behaviors that are typically reserved for humans: giraffes and moose ride bicycles, a crocodile skates by on a longboard, flamingoes play Twister, a pelican practices the tuba…Other times, they perform feats that only exist in the realms of imagination, like humpback whales soaring through the sky and breaching through clouds. Her pieces remind us that all creatures great and small each have their own unique story to tell.
Jennifer tells us “Safari Ltd® figures are particularly nice because of their anatomical accuracy and careful details. My first Safari Ltd® family member was a polar bear. I haven’t used him in a painting yet, but he keeps me company on my drawing desk.” From that one initial figure, her collection has now grown to an entire drawer full of Safari Ltd® figures that serve as models for her paintings. “Now I have a really good excuse to keep buying toys as an ‘adult’,” she explains. As far as we’re concerned, you’re never too old to be a SafariFan!
Jennifer Walker currently resides outside of Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Drew, and their dog. Her work is on display at the Art and Invention Gallery in Nashville, and can be viewed online at ThePudgyBug.com, or on Instagram @ThePudgyBug.