Meet the Artist: Brett Rees

About a year back, we put out a call on our social media asking our supporters to send in their best raptor art for our 2022 calendar. Lucky for us, we received a jaw-dropping submission from the one and only Brett Rees. After seeing this painting, we knew we needed more of his work in our lives. Brett’s style combines the balance and grace of fine art with the boldness and edge of American traditional tattoos. The cherry on top is that all of his work features our favorite subject—birds of prey!

At the start of the winter, we partnered with Brett to release our new Golden Eagle Tee. This shirt features a Golden Eagle hunting for its preferred prey, lagomorphs, surrounded by the sagebrush. This shirt highlights some of the work we are doing to learn more about Golden Eagle diets—more specifically, how food can increase risks of contaminants and pathogens exposure. With every purchase, this shirt will help fund our work conserving eagles in the states and across the globe. Click here to shop the Golden Eagle Tee:

What is your “spark bird,” aka the species that sparked your interest in birds?

Eagles – of course!

What inspires your work?

For the last four or five years, I have been focused on painting birds of prey. I take inspiration from their strength and use it symbolically in my work. I’m always trying to find new reference material that inspires me. Through the years, I have collected a fairly considerable amount of bird of prey imagery. Everything from Audubon to tattoo stencil collections. I refer to them quite a bit in my work.

What do you do outside of your art?

I am an avid falconer. Everything kind of goes hand-in-hand with me. I was inspired to make paintings of birds of prey. One of the ways I devised to see birds of prey up close was to meet and hang out with falconers. I was hooked after my first outing and did everything I could to pursue my own falconry apprenticeship. There is nothing cooler than getting to participate in the hunt and witness a bird’s power and beauty in person. It has become an obsession that fuels my artwork even more. 

Where can people find and support you?

I do a little bit of everything. I love to paint but also do quite a bit of design work these days. My paintings can be found on my website:, or through my Instagram @brettrees. I have also started to release limited-run falconry shirts under the name Devils of Dirt Hawking Falconry Club. My tongue-in-cheek nod to the lowly dirt hawkers out there (myself included). That work can be found at or @devilsofdirthawking on Instagram.

This blog was written by Sammy Riccio, HWI’s Donor Engagement Coordinator. You can learn more about Sammy here.

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