James Prosek

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James Prosek
Born May 23, 1975 (1975-05-23) (age 43)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Nationality  United States
Education Yale University
Known for Art, Writing, Conservation
Awards George Foster Peabody Award (2002)

James Prosek (born May 23, 1975) is an American artist, writer and naturalist. He was born in Connecticut and grew up in the town of Easton, CT where he still lives. His father was born in Santos, Brazil and his mother in Prague, Czechoslovakia.[1] He is a 1997 graduate of Yale University.[2]

Prosek published his first book in 1996 while studying at Yale.[3] Trout: An Illustrated History included watercolors of seventy species, subspecies, and strains of trout in North America. With the publication of Trout, the first book of its kind, Prosek became widely recognized as having brought attention to the existence and plight of native trout, leading to widespread conservation efforts. A year later, in 1997, he published his second book, Joe and Me: An Education in Fishing and Friendship.[4] His second trout book, Trout of the World, published in 2003,[5] is a collection of one hundred watercolors of native trout from Europe, Asia and North Africa (updated and expanded in 2013, Abrams).[6]

Since those early documentary works Prosek’s art has become more conceptual, engaging in questions of how we name, systematize and order nature. His art has been featured in exhibitions at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Addison Gallery of American Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Yale Center for British Art, The Royal Academy of Arts in London, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and The National Academy of Sciences among other institutions. His first solo museum exhibition, Life & Death - A Visual Taxonomy, was at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT in 2007.[7]

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.

In 2002, Prosek won a Peabody Award for his documentary on 17th-century author and angler Izaak Walton and his book The Compleat Angler.[8] As an undergraduate at Yale University he majored in English Literature, and was a member of Manuscript Society.[9] Of his second book Joe and Me his teacher, the literary critic Harold Bloom, wrote “Prosek is a writer at once artful and natural, an original in literature even as he is in painting.”[10]

In 2004 Prosek co-founded a conservation initiative with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard called "World Trout"[11] which raises money for coldwater habitat conservation.[12]

Since the start of the program in 2005, the World Trout Initiative has given $2 million to over 200 fish conservation groups.[13]

Prosek is the author of eleven books for both adults and children,[14] including Ocean Fishes (Rizzoli, 2012) and The Day My Mother Left (Simon & Schuster, 2006). He has written for the New York Times and National Geographic Magazine.[15]

His book, Eels: An Exploration, From New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Mysterious Fish, was released by HarperCollins in September 2011 and was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.[16] The book was adapted as a documentary for the PBS series "Nature" that aired in 2013.[17]


  1. ^ Burke, Monte. "James Prosek On Art And Life".
  2. ^ "Yale Bulletin and Calendar Commencement 1997".
  3. ^ Balzar, John, Lured by Their Beauty : ART : TROUT: An Illustrated History, By James Prosek (Alfred A. Knopf: $27.50; 158 pp.), Los Angeles Times, June 1996
  4. ^ http://www.onbeing.org/program/fishing-mystery/particulars/4479
  5. ^ "Trout of the World". www.fieldandstream.com.
  6. ^ "Trout of the World Revised and Updated Edition".
  7. ^ "Aldrich Museum past exhibitions".
  8. ^ "The Complete Angler".
  9. ^ Hodara, Susan, New York Times, January 13, 2008
  10. ^ "Joe & Me - Books & DVDs - Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters - ChiFly.com". chifly.com.
  11. ^ http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/patagonia.go?slc=en_US&sct=US&assetid=32942
  12. ^ Patagonia website info on World Trout
  13. ^ Additional Patagonia website info on World Trout
  14. ^ Prosek, James. "James Prosek / Books & Articles". jamesprosek.com.
  15. ^ Prosek, James, Beautiful Friendship, National Geographic Magazine, January 2009
  16. ^ Greenberg, Paul, Slither Room, New York Times, October 2010
  17. ^ "The Mystery of Eels - Full Episode - Nature - PBS". 18 April 2013.

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