If our existence as humans is a story, Georgia Baker is using her art to rewrite the narrative. A lifelong admirer of wildlife, the German-born artist transforms her intent study of animals into portrayals that encapsulate the true experience of being in their presence. Through colorful whimsy and breathtaking likeness, Georgia’s large-scale oil paintings document the sense of wonder that can come from deep immersion in nature. Having spent her life in the wildlandscapes of British Columbia, Alaska, and Montana, Georgia’s subjects primarily include large predators of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Georgia has long felt bonded to the more-than-human natural world. Since her childhood spent in Vancouver’s wild fringe of old growth forests and mountains that rise from the sea, such settings have enriched her with an affinity for the natural world that extends beyond that which humans have constructed. Her art negates the settler narrative of wilderness as something to be feared and reimagines it as a place of intrinsic value. Georgia’s paintings embrace indigenous ways of knowing that call on us to revere wild places and wild beings rather than to conquer them.
Georgia’s work emotes adoration for wildlife, but she espouses a sobering realism when it comes to the current state of her subjects. She’s pained by the planet’s rapidly waning biodiversity—the World Wildlife Fund reports an average 69% drop in species populations since 1970—but even more so she’s disheartened by the lack of urgency with which the threat is being addressed.
Georgia’s empathy for wildlife was intensified when she experienced Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in December of 2017, a life-threatening condition that leaves patients recovering for years from severe paralysis. She parallels the attack on her own nervous system with the destruction of our world’s delicate ecosystems byway of habitat fragmentation. “What we’re experiencing as a result is the same thing,” Georgia suggests. “Paralysis. We’re petrified by the damage to these systems, just like I was when my own body was under attack from GBS.” Georgia is overcoming her illness thanks to her own tenacious spirit as well as collaborative and supportive healthcare. Perhaps the prescription for wildlife’s own tragedy isn’t so different.
Formerly a graphic designer for such notable accounts as Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism British Columbia, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Alaska State Parks, Georgia has established herself as a standout fine artist, studying under renowned nature painters the likes of Robert Bateman, Greg Beecham, Julia Chapman, among others. Through the use of palette knives and brushes, Georgia’s oil paintings embody texture and depth that renders her subjects in a likeness that inspires nothing short of awe.
Georgia is using her work to compel a sense of place and remind us of the innate belonging we share with our wild neighbors. In a time when our relationship to wildlife is fractured by misunderstanding, Georgia’s paintings are as much a demand for mutual coexistence as they are a portal to empathy for all living things.
Georgia currently resides in the high alpine of Big Sky, Montana, among the wildlife that inspires her work.