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Forsyth County painter combines art with the outdoors to win international competition, raise money for salmon conservation in Canada
Salmon Conservation Stamp
Eric Jablonowski's painting titled, “On the Move,” won first place out of 13 entries at the Salmon Conservation Stamp Competition in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Eric Jablonowski grew up in rural Pennsylvania, spending every moment he could in the vast expanse of wildlife that surrounded him. 

He remembers walking through the forest as a kid and stopping every time he saw an animal that caught his interest. Then, he started taking photos of animals that later became the subjects of many of his paintings.  

This love for animals and the outdoors is what sparked his lifelong dedication to art. 

Now a resident in Forsyth County, Jablonowski works full-time doing content and design work for a sign shop. He designs signs displayed all over the country, but when he gets home from a long day of work, he still tries his best to pick up his paintbrush and head into nature. 

While he paints fish, deer and other animals out of sheer passion, Jablonowski realized he could also use his art for good. This led him to entering dozens of competitions to help raise money for wildlife conservation efforts across the U.S. 

This past month, Jablonowski won his first international competition. His painting titled, “On the Move,” won first place out of 13 entries at the Salmon Conservation Stamp Competition in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

“My painting, ‘On the Move,’ is a snapshot of the beautifully colored Sockeye salmon, painted to represent their incredible journey upstream to spawn,” he said. “As a wildlife artist, it is always a privilege to study and paint a species so that others may enjoy the wonders of some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures on earth.” 

The oil painting will be used as the 2022-23 Salmon Conservation Stamp, a permit residents and visitors are required to purchase to fish for any type of Pacific salmon in the province. 

Prints of the painting will also be sold to collectors, and all proceeds from the purchases will go to the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s conservation efforts.  

On its website, the foundation states that its current goals are to maintain existing wild Pacific salmon populations; rebuild salmon stocks of conservation concern and their habitats; advance salmon enhancement programs that support conservation; and increase public education, involvement, and support for ongoing community engagement. 

The local artist said he is happy knowing that his artwork, at least for the next year, will be useful in helping raise money and keeping the population of wild Pacific salmon maintained. He believes conservation efforts are important to making sure wildlife populations in general remain balanced. 

“The salmon are very funny, fickle fish because if it gets thrown off or something affects the water, it affects the whole region,” Jablonowski said. “It’s really important that they keep the conservation effort going.” 

Outside of entering competitions and working full-time, he also runs his own website and shop where he sells his other paintings and takes personalized commissions. 

Those interested can learn more about Jablonowski and see his work at www.ericjablonowski.com. He also posts pieces on his Instagram account @ejablonart. 

To find out more about the Pacific Salmon Foundation, visit its website at www.psf.ca