Author: Alicia Muir

Animals in Art

Animals have inspired and featured in art since our earliest ancestors were drawing on the walls of caves. As well as providing the perfect means to explore and represent nature, animals are often imbued with symbolism of both real and imagined meanings. This viewing room explores the different ways that animals are used in art; from the humorous, to the aesthetic, to the political.

The tradition of using animals as a substitute for humans in stories and fables has resulted in an acceptance of the personification of animals. The inextricable link between animals and nature ensures that animals can be used in art to address climate and global concerns. By making an animal central to an artwork, artists can provoke an emotional sense in the viewer, as well as awe for the natural world and a reminder of the responsibility that we have to preserve it.

David Shrigley’s ‘I Hate Humans’ raises and simplifies the global warming crisis with the depiction of a polar bear, an animal we are aware is one of the most affected by the rapidly melting ice caps. Shrigley’s animals also take three-dimensional forms, as seen in his ‘Swan’ statuette. In the artist's signature caricature-like style, he transforms the elegant swan into a straight-necked, smiley-faced character.

Jeff Koons' balloon animals are similarly comedic, however the artist has disclosed that his works have no hidden meanings. Taking the form of ordinary items and cartoon characters, Koons’ curious and kitsch reflective sculptures are informed by advertising and highlight contemporary consumerism.

Dave White and Louise McNaught both create dynamic depictions of animals through oil and watercolour to promote endangered species and shine a light on global warming. In White’s words, his work ‘represents the fragile balance of order and chaos in the natural world and the impact we are having on our environment.’ McNaught chooses to use vibrant colours and surrealist elements that elevate her animal subjects to a heavenly and god-like status.
The following artworks are the perfect demonstration of how artists utilise animal imagery to express issues important to them in relatable ways.

Animals in Art | Image

I Hate Humans by David Shrigley


David Shrigley lives and works in Brighton, UK and is famous for his humorous drawings and hand-written text works. We love the way his artwork is both relatable and funny, turning simple everyday encounters into comedic and often satirical commentary that often draw attention to the darker side of life. 

Animals in Art | Image

Balloon Monkey (Orange) by Jeff Koons


Jeff Koons is an American Neo-Pop artist, widely regarded as one of the most influential and controversial artists of the post war era. Jeff Koons plays with ideas of taste, pleasure, celebrity, and commerce - creating a style seen as ironic or tongue-in-cheek. His art prints and sculptures borrow widely from art-historical techniques and styles; although his practice blends several existing styles - pop, conceptual, craft - to create his own unique mode of expression.

Animals in Art | Image

Ribboned Tiger by Otto Schade 


Otto Schade is a Chilean-born artist who combines surrealism and street art to great effect. With an artistic style fluctuating between the boundaries of surrealism and abstract, the themes for his works are generally related to the artist’s private stories, offering a unique insight into his dreams and obsessions, as well as political issues and pop culture. Working mainly with oil paint and traditional supports such as stretched canvas, he also practices collage, illustration and stencil. 

Animals in Art | Image

Persist by Louise McNaught 


Louise lives and works in London, UK and is known for her distinctive paintings of animals. We love her commitment to animals and the natural world, which she intends to raise awareness on the delicate relationship between humans and wildlife. Louise is also the author of the book ‘Survival’ which focuses on endangered species through a twenty-page portrayal of animals and their fight to survive.

Animals in Art | Image

Apex Deck Triptych by Dave White


Dave White is a contemporary British artist who is best known for his striking oil and watercolour pieces that use abstract marks such as paint splashes and dripping to create a coherent image that breathes life into the subject. White excels in capturing the vividness of animals and injects them with a vibrant energy that is unique to his work.

Looking for more animal artworks? Explore our specially created collection here.


CJP £75

Rewilderness - A3

29.7 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 185

Hearts & Flowers - Clementine

45 x 45cm

Limited Edition of 20

Anthropomorphic Bowie

42 x 60 cm

Limited Edition of 100

You Are My Sunshine in Multicolour -...

45 x 64cm

Limited Edition of 20

Nothing Matters - Remix, 2020 Art Print by Dan Hillier

Cats Pyramids

24.7 x 39cm

Limited Edition of 42

Daffy (Red Stripe)

70 x 50cm

Limited Edition of 50

Reginald Botanical

29.7 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 99

Lazy Afternoon Cheetah

29.7 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 99

Lone Pine, California

33 X 48 cm

Limited Edition of 25


21 x 29.7cm

Limited Edition of 100

Cherry Drop

35 x 35cm

Limited Edition of 32

Premium Sunflower Safety Matches

54 x 64cm

Limited Edition of 25

Acne Pink

30 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 100

Lemon Blossom 3

40 x 40cm

Limited Edition of 100

Adventure Awaits, 2020

50.7 x 45cm

Limited Edition of 25

Ellipsis - Remix, 2020 Art Print by Dan Hillier

Ellipsis - Remix, 2020

42 x 42 cm

Limited Edition of 100

Paralluxe Primary Edition

50 x 50cm

Limited Edition of 25

Charlotte Farmer £115 £97.75

Anyone for Tennis?

29.7 x 42 cm

Limited Edition of 50

BOUNCE! 2020

42 x 42cm

Limited Artist Proof

The Sun Rises in the East Art Print by Hooksmith Press

The Sun Rises in the East

32 x 45cm

Limited Edition of 40


29.7 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 20

Patrick Art Print by Lee Ellis


40 x 40cm

Limited Edition of 25

Vintage Girl

70 x 100cm

Limited Edition of 50

MK-Ultra II

19 x 19cm

Limited Edition of 177

Lisa Lloyd £100 £85

Hummingbird with Blue Background - Medium

29.7 x 42cm

Limited Edition of 50

Gorilla - Neon Pink

42 x 59.4cm

Limited Edition of 20

Right Hand Red, 2020 Art Print by Static
Static £35

Right Hand Red, 2020

20 x 20cm

Limited Edition of 500