Biography

mauricio anton portrait 1-low res

I have been a professional paleoartist since the late 1980s, when I did my first paleontological illustrations for the permanent exhibits of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid. But my interest in depicting prehistoric life began much earlier, when at the age of 8 I saw the paleontological art of Rudolph Zallinger published in “The golden book Encyclopedia of Natural Science”. Over the few following years I also saw the work of paleoart masters Charles Knight, Zdeneck Burian and Jay Matternes, which inspired me to pursue a career in paleart.

From Spain my family moved to Venezuela in the early 1970’s and it was there that I received my artistic training, first by attending the studio of Venezuelan painter Pedro Centeno Vallenilla and then by studying fine arts in Caracas’ “Centro de Enseñanza Gráfica”.

Back in Spain, my collaboration with the Paleobiology department at Madrid’s Museo de Ciencias Naturales (led for many years by paleontologist Jorge Morales) allowed me to acquire more knowledge about paleontology and anatomy, neccesary for the creation of accurate reconstructions. Then in the early 1990’s I met british paleontologist Alan Turner, and we immediately started a fruitful collaboration which led to the publication of several joint books and academic papers, and which lasted until his untimaley death in 2012.

Most of my research about the paleobiology of sabertooth cats is made in collaboration with the paleontologist Manuel Salesa, a leading expert in the evolution of carnivores.  Anatomist Juan Francisco Pastor has been of great help through the years organizing dissections of mammals at the University of Valladolid. 3D artist and animator Juan Pérez Fajardo has been a close collaborator for many years, and we have produced several animated videos that recreate ancient animals and which make visible the very process of reconstruction. I am happy to say that these collaborations not only have resulted in the creation of ever more accurate renderings of past life, but they have also led to lasting freindships.

Since 2013 I have been leading “Drawing the Big Cats”, an original “Art&Science” Safari that takes place each year in the wilderness of Northern Botswana. This unique experience is possible thanks to the initiative of my friends from “Elephant Trails Safari”, and it brings together people from all around the world with a shared passion for art, knowledge, and all things feline.

In 2020 I have the honour of holding the Basler Chair at the East Tennessee State University, a position that allows me to teach about my work in paleoart to students both in the Arts and in the Sciences.