James Prosek first gained notoriety back in 1996, when, as 19 year-old student at Yale University, he published Trout: An Illustrated History. Prosek’s ability to bring vibrancy and life to his watercolors, and his obsession with contextual and anatomical accuracy, won him quick comparisons to famed naturalist John James Audubon. These accolades were no lighthearted atta-boys; Prosek was rightly identified as a truly gifted artist whose deeply felt connection with nature was both genuine and finely-tuned.
A Connective native, in many ways, he embodies the East Coast Ivy League ethos of intellectual meaningfulness. James Prosek took a love of fly fishing, art, nature, history, and environmental awareness and created both a career and a movement that has influenced and motivated others. His art is already included in the permanent collections of several museums. And Prosek’s work is sought after by many a prep, complete with wall space in a suitable wood paneled, leather sofa-ed study-cum-office.
In the intervening years since his Ivy League days, Prosek has been a busy and prolific young man.
In 2003, he won a Peabody Award for his documentary on 17th-century author and angler Izzal Walton and his seminal book The Complete Angler, well-known to any fan of fishing. In addition to the publication of several more books, Prosek remains an accomplished artist, author, and naturalist. He is a fellow of the Vermont Studio Center, and a visiting artist for the Yale Summer School of Art. Prosek is also a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale (where I spent many a grade school field trip), and a member of the board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
Along with Patagonia co-founder, Yvon Chouinard, he also co-founded World Trout, an initiative that supports individuals and groups who protect native cold water fish and their habitats. And, at a mere 38 years old, Prosek still has a long way to go.