Local wildlife artist creates gator face masks

Renowned Gainesville Wildlife Artist Jim Wilson announced that he was literally “back to the drawing board” on his Facebook page. 
 
He has, “dusted off the prismacolor pencils,” he commented, and is referring to his photos from Costa Rica for inspiration as he finishes up a cover for his 2021 Wildlife Calendar.
 
Wilson depends on two main ways to sell his photos, arts shows and from his website.
 
But the COVID-19 pandemic has meant no exhibits this year. Wilson said he used to set up and sell at more than 30 shows across the U.S. from Chicago, to New York, to Miami.
 

Jim Wilson

In the last few years he has shortened that list, but in 2020 all of his shows were a no go.
 
In May he expanded products for sale on his website by adding drawings to face masks and there are 41 drawings to choose from.
 
This week Wilson has launched a new set of masks for Gator fans that show off his intricate artwork on blue or orange fabric masks.
 
“We are facing unprecedented times,” the site states. “We want to do our part to help.
 
“We are offering cloth face masks with a variety of Jim Wilson’s wildlife artwork for added protection when venturing out to complete the essential tasks.”
 
Masks are $15 and are available in natural (double-layer, high-thread count 100% cotton muslin fabric) and blue (soft, lightweight and breathable cotton chambray outer layer, with the same cotton muslin interior layer as our natural color), and your choice of elastic straps or a cloth tie. Machine washable with cold water.
 
Both adult and child sizes are available and they are handmade by Wilson who applies the image to the fabric using a 400-degree setting process. Then, his wife Margie, a retired Navy commander and expert seamstress sews the masks.
 
Most orders will ship in 24 hours from his studio in Gainesville, he said.
Wilson is celebrating 49 years of drawing wildlife. He said he spent 10 years going to college getting degrees in wildlife ecology, environmental economics and pursuing economic entomology.
 
Before he wrote his dissertation, he said he took a leave of absence and never returned. Instead, he launched his art career.
 
The face masks have been a hit, he said.
 
“Masks go all over the country because our ad campaign targets animal lovers.”
 
Check out his work at: 

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