Edgar Stewart is one of the few native Vermonters to have a relationship with sharks. As the only non-coastal state in New England, Vermont’s residents and anglers are more likely to find aquatic appreciation in smallmouth bass and northern pike. Even though Edgar grew up fishing in freshwater lakes of the Green Mountains, he always felt drawn to the sea and has lived near the Atlantic Ocean ever since his college years. His appreciation for nature began at an early age and has blossomed into a career illustrating animals, landscapes, logos, and more in localized Northeast markets.
Edgar grew up on a farm in the rural town of Goshen, Vermont, where he was around farm animals that his family let roam freely in a large enclosure on their property. Edgar’s parents eventually built a 12-acre pond, which was fed by a natural mountain stream and stocked with brook trout. He learned to fly fish there, which instilled in him an appreciation for water, and he later expanded his horizons to larger bodies of water, even fishing lakes across state lines.
Along with fishing, Edgar enjoyed drawing and illustrating animals, portraying the scenes of wildlife that unfolded in his own backyard. Among the fish and farm animals, his favorite subjects were waterfowl and large birds of prey that favored their backyard pond due to the abundance of brook trout in open water.
Edgar eventually took his creative talents to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied illustration and graphic design to further hone his artistic skills. He planned for a career in design, and upon graduating, he began illustrating children’s books with Charlesbridge Publishing. The themes varied, but Edgar’s favorite work was The Underwater Alphabet Book, authored by Jerry Pallotta, in which he had the opportunity to illustrate sharks.
While he hadn’t had much exposure to the sea, Edgar had always been interested in sharks; he read and collected shark books and wore shark-tooth necklaces for years, but it wasn’t until he had the opportunity to illustrate them that he discovered his fascination with them.
Over the past 15 years, he’s been studying sharks by following the works of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. The organization tags and studies the patterns of these sharks along the East Coast in order to spread awareness of conserving these feared predators.
The opportunity to illustrate his favorite subject for a local, conservation-minded brand came about when Cape and Island Distillers asked Edgar to draw the shark for their Great White Rum logo, which he considers one of his most accomplished projects yet.
Coming from a self-sustaining family farm, Edgar has maintained an eco-friendly mindset throughout his career, often aligning his art with his ideologies. As a freelance artist, he chooses to work with small, localized businesses and brands in eco-friendly markets across the Northeast. As a native Vermonter, he became Ben & Jerry’s head packaging designer before working with Nantucket Nectars to illustrate the fruits used on their labels (which are still used today). After spending some time fishing the tropical waters around Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, he even had the chance to draw the sailfish used in the logo of Tommy Bahama’s Marlin Bar.
Edgar realized he could have a career as an artist wherever he chose to settle. Ultimately, his decision boiled down to his love for the mountains versus the ocean, and his fascination with sharks and the ocean won.
Today, Edgar lives in proximity to the ocean, but maintains a life within reach of the mountains. He has settled in Concord, Massachusetts, and when he’s not working on his creative pursuits, he’s visiting family in Rhode Island to enjoy time on the water, fishing for stripers and fluke. He hopes to continue to work as a freelance artist for environmentally-friendly organizations and like-minded clients among the coastal communities of the Northeast.
Follow Edgar on Instagram or Visit him online at edgarstewart.com