News, Artists, Artist Spotlight

SEWE Announces Ryan Kirby as 2023 Featured Artist

SEWE is proud to announce Ryan Kirby as our 2023 Featured Artist and will unveil the 2023 Featured Painting at our new fall event ‘Flyways’ on October 15.

Ryan Kirby, Boone, North Carolina-based artist, has been named the Featured Artist for SEWE 2023. Kirby’s original piece, The Departure, has been selected as the SEWE 2023 Featured Painting and will be the subject of the official SEWE 2023 poster.
“There is going to be a tremendous amount of excitement with the announcement of Ryan Kirby as the SEWE 2023 Featured Artist. Ryan is a passionate outdoorsman, avid conservationist and accomplished artist. His authenticity and approachability have made him a favorite at SEWE over the years,” said John Powell, President of SEWE. “Ryan is always willing to discuss his work and pursuits with attendees, which is surely why so many feel like they know him on a personal level. I have known Ryan as an artist and friend for more than a decade, and his dedication to SEWE and wildlife art is a gift we all look forward to celebrating now through the upcoming show in February.”
Kirby is well respected in the wildlife arts genre and known in the art community for his ability to recreate candid and captivating moments from the great outdoors. The creativity behind his art is inspired by his experiences with animals and nature, dating back to 1989 when he and his family lived on a farm in Hamilton, Illinois. From turkey hunting to fishing in the Mississippi, his early immersion with wildlife laid the foundation for his passion and inspiration for the natural world. 
“It’s a huge honor and a great opportunity for me to be selected as the SEWE 2023 Featured Artist. I’ve been a part of the show for nine years now, and in that time I’ve seen some tremendously talented artists take the stage with this esteemed title. I intend to work very hard and bring my best work to the upcoming show.” -RYAN KIRBY

Kirby attended SEWE for the first time in 2010, prior to launching his career as a full time artist. In 2013, he was accepted to showcase his paintings at the event and quickly became a popular SEWE artist with annual collectors. His work has been highlighted in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Game & Fish Magazine and Garden & Gun. In 2014, Outdoor Life featured Kirby’s work on the cover of their magazine, making it the first fine art cover the publication had run in more than 20 years. Since then, Kirby’s work has been featured in six additional issues of Outdoor Life.
The Departure, was chosen as the 2023 Featured Painting and depicts a trio of pheasants soaring together through a field. In addition to studying, sketching and planning the composition of the piece, Kirby spent 11 days in the studio and nearly 100 hours bringing the painting to life on a 48” x 36” canvas. leston, February 17-19, 2023. Tickets go on sale Friday, October 14 and will be available for purchase online at
“After settling on pheasants as the subject for this feature painting,I wanted to recreate the heart-stopping moment whenthe birds take flight. I sketched, researched and sketched somemore before settling on this composition of this trio taking flight. But no matter how manypieces I’ve painted, each one has it’s own plot twists, just like the unpredictability of the flush. Until you put a brush to canvas, you never really know what’s going to happen.” -RYAN KIRBY

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