A graduate of Auburn University recently took home the top prize at the Alabama Wildlife Fine Arts Competition, part of the second-annual Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival (WEWA).
Jared Knox, winner of the ‘Best in Show’ category, graduated from Auburn in 2021 with a degree in mechanical engineering and had only pursued art as a hobby during most of his time on the Plains.
It wasn’t until his final semester in college, that Knox was invited to show some of his artwork at a gallery in suburban Atlanta. He said that the encouragement from a gallery owner at one such event provided a “light bulb moment” pushing him to make art, not engineering, into a full-time job.
The young artist also discussed his award winning piece, “Bobcat and Bobwhite,” showcasing a bobcat and its prey up close. Knox said the idea originally came to him while hunting in North Georgia.
“There was one field that had a bobcat in it, and once or twice I got to see that bobcat hunt,” Knox said. “It was at sunset. That image stuck with me. It was a big bobcat. I love that image, and I also love in general the story of different animals going out and catching their food.”
“How cool would it be if I ever saw this, a bobcat holding a quail?” he added. “It looks like he’s just recently gotten it. It’s a fresh kill.”
Knox was excited to be recognized amongst some of his artistic heroes.
“It was really cool to be a part of it, because some of the artists I look up to most were there, like Dirk Walker and Sue Key,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of theirs forever. To be a part of it and win and talk with them, it was really great.”
“It was awesome.”
Knox also credits his family’s first trip to the Alabama Black Belt in Lowndes County as a teen with creating his love for hunting and wildlife.
ALBBAA helped promote the second annual Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival, which was created through a partnership involving the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery, known to locals as “The Kelly,” the City of Wetumpka and the Smoot Harris Family.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.