Gifted with multifaceted talents, Prosek has been striving to celebrate biodiversity of the natural world and promote awareness of the species’ endangerment through, not only painting, but also writing and filmmaking
Artist, writer, naturalist, and Yale graduate James Prosek published his first book at nineteen years of age, Trout: an Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), which featured seventy of his watercolor paintings of the trout of North America.
He has written for The New York Times and National Geographic Magazine and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, the seventeenth-century author of The Compleat Angler. Prosek also co-founded a conservation initiative called "World Trout" with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard to raise funds for coldwater habitat conservation.
Prosek's work as both an artist and writer is marked by a critical probing of accepted taxonomies and naming conventions. He is particularly interested in exploring the ways in which language not only serves to organize the world around us, but also to reify extant hierarchies, thus fostering a sense of a "natural" order of things; an order that is, in fact, entirely illusory. The Bellarmine Museum of Art will explore these, and related, questions in James Prosek: Un-Natural History (October 21, 2011-December 21, 2011). Highlights of this dynamic exhibition, which provides a unique forum for cross-curricular initiatives at Fairfield University, include Prosek's captivating watercolors that illustrate these and other novel classificatory schemae as well as the artist's whimsical hybrid creatures, including Cockatool and Parrotfishe.
Prosek's paintings, which range from the compellingly realistic to the inventively fanciful, have been shown at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NY, Gerald Peters Gallery, NY and Santa Fe, The Royal Academy of Arts in London, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, The Yale Center for British Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, The Addison Gallery of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, The North Carolina Museum of Art and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC among others.
He has been an artist-in-residence at numerous institutions, including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Addison Gallery of American Art.
Prosek is a curatorial affiliate, as well as on the board (Leadership Council), of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and a member of the advisory board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.