(Jackson, Wyo.) - The turning point in emerging artist Aubrey Ashburn's career was a safari she took to Africa and the impact the elephants had on her. Ashburn grew up in Ohio and spent most of her career as a singer and songwriter in Los Angeles. She was childhood friends with artist Amy Ringholz, so she would travel to Jackson often for her art shows. A few years ago, Ashburn and her husband purchased a home in Jackson. Ashburn had always painted on the side as a hobby, but one trip changed her life and career. "In 2014, we went on safari in Africa and I became intrigued by the elephant poaching problem," she said. She was able to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, which is described as "most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world." Impacted by her incredible experience, Ashburn became involved in advocating against poaching in Africa and donating her music to elephant documentaries. Looking for another way to help, she went to her friend Ringholz's studio and painted her first elephant. [image: Inline image 1] *Unforgettable by Aubrey Ashburn* "After Africa and donating money/fostering the orphans, I still felt like my hands were tied, like I'm still not making an impact to help save these awesome creatures," said Ashburn. "So when I painted the first elephant, it was cathartic I guess in an energetic sense, like I was honoring them and literally putting them back together, bringing them back to life." "To me, painting them is a form of wildlife preservation in action," she added. So Ashburn kept painting wildlife, inspired by her safari, the work of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and her surroundings in Jackson Hole. This spring, with only eight completed paintings, she applied for the Art Association's Emerging Artist Program. According to the Art Association, this category is designed specifically for artists who have no experience exhibiting and selling their artwork in an art fair environment. In March, she was notified that she was named the Emerging Artist for the July Art Fair of Jackson Hole. "I am still in shock that they even picked me. I am just really honored because this has always been a hobby of mine," she said. For the last three months, Ashburn has been working hard to create paintings for her very first Art Fair. As Emerging Artist, she was given a mentor and half price on the booth. She describes her wildlife art as contemporary, very intense paintings with brilliant colors and high contrast. [image: Inline image 2] *(Left) Blue Bounty, (Middle) Royal Beauties and (Right) Good Love by Aubrey Ashburn* "All of this vividness is pouring out of me because I am doing it for something bigger than myself," said Ashburn. "I want to somehow strike up conversations about wildlife conservation through my art." Ashburn will be showing and selling her work for the first time ever this weekend, July 8-10, at the Art Association's 50th Anniversary Art Fair at Miller Park. See more of Ashburn's work on her Facebook page
*Feature Photo: (Left) Aubrey Ashburn with a rescued elephant in Africa.
(Right) **Unforgettable by Aubrey Ashburn.** h/t Aubrey Ashburn /