Howie is an artist and marine conservationist with a longstanding passion for cetaceans. He has initiated campaigns such as 'The Universal Declaration of Marine Mammal Rights', 'Blue Groper', 'State Fish NSW', 'Get you Butts Off Our Beaches' and the Whale Tipi Project. Howie has been working with IFAW for last six years on art and education projects especially in relation to the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary proposal, and attending IWC meetings.
"The ocean has always been an alluring source of adventure and rejuvination throughout my life, these days body boarding takes me to the moving wave, salt on my skin, encounters with dolphins, and the sound of the surf booming under the stars.
"In the mid 70's when I was living on an island cliff top in New Zealand, riding longboards, sailing and diving I had a kind of mystical epiphany about whales and dolphins, our Ocean Kin, that inspired me to take up painting large canvases about them, still to this day, and work toward the full protection of cetaceans. "All the wondrous encounters I've had with cetaceans have confirmed to me that we are indeed privileged to be in the company of this ancient and noble race of profoundly wise, joyful and ultimately forgiving people of the sea."
Born in New Zealand, Howie became an underground teenage cartoonist and artist in the early 70s. He started exhibiting big oil paintings of whales in the mid-70s and held his first solo shows ‘the Blue Goat’ in Tonga 1979 and ‘of Whales and Women’ in Auckland 1980. Actively involved with Project Jonah NZ, Howie illustrated a kids educational book ‘Welcome the Whales’ in 1978. Tahiti 1981-83: Sailed to Bora-Bora with a roll of canvas and bag of oil paint.
Exhibitions include ‘Six Peintures de Moorea’ and ‘Pourquoi pas?’. Sailed to Cook Islands for 4 months returning to Tahiti to be a set painter on ‘the Bounty’ film production for 5 months. Held 2 large solo shows ‘Still-life for sailors’ and ‘the Pink Hat is back’ on return (crewing on the Bounty) to NZ Member of VAANA (Visual Artists Against Nuclear Arms) New Caledonia 1984: Photo-journalist and painting in midst of a civil war. Bali 1985: More tropical canvases. Australia 1985-89: Sydney life as painter, printmaker, musician and life model culminates through many exhibitions in solo show ‘In the Afterglow’ prior to leaving to see the Gauguin retrospective in Paris.
Thailand 1989: More tropical canvases. Europe 1989-91: Travelling mostly in France Spain and Portugal and living and exhibiting in London, notably solo shows ‘Partpartypartart” and ‘Wales dolphins and Chaos’ Tahiti 1991: New set of paintings and exhibition. Curated into ‘Pacific Connections’ at Rotorua art gallery NZ on way back to Australia. Set up studio at Bondi Beach. Member of the ‘Infamous Four’ group of painters. Howie formed and directed ‘Ocean-S’ to focus on local marine conservation issues and initiate the highly successful ‘Get your Butts off our Beaches’ and ‘Blue Groper State Fish NSW’ campaigns. Involved in dozens of group shows and held several solos, notably ‘to the Whales born’ in 1993 also launching his first book of the same name.
Howie moved to the Northern Rivers region of Australia after a solo exhibition ‘when Angels swim and Whales fly’, working as a freelance art director for IFAW developing art related strategies – notably murals, the South Pacific Whale sanctuary banner and the Whale Tipi - for IWC meetings and other whale and marine conservation events. Co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C) which aims to mobilise surfers and ocean crew worldwide against the harassment, capture and killing of cetaceans and other marine mammals, and for coastal and marine conservation. S4C initiated the Humpback Icon Project, VisualPetition.com and the Taiji Surfers Ceremony for dolphins in Japan. Over 20 solo exhibitions, about 100 group exhibitions, over 10 art auctions, various art awards and represented in private and public collections worldwide.