Vera Ming Wong


Vera Wong

Vera Ming Wong

Vera at White Tank Mountain Park, AZ

My artwork and illustrations focus on native species and natural areas, to highlight the visible and reveal the unseen. Fascinated by the invisible relationships between living organisms and their environments, I draw and paint from life (and occasionally from death). This allows me to prolong my own relationship with them, and to observe, wonder, learn and understand, bit by bit, how the natural world functions without the heavy hand of humans; and hopefully, eventually, how they might survive our weighty footprints. My sketches from life, in drawing media or watercolor (chosen for their low toxicity and environmental impact), provide the base for studio works, whether of larger sizes or in media (cut paper or block prints) more delicate than can be accomplished outdoors.

By illuminating the amazing attributes of species in their environment, I hope to inspire viewers to wonder about, protect and restore the intricate networks needed for their survival, as well as the individual organisms, or the most obvious or charismatic species.

In addition to tangible artworks, Project Art for Nature (PAN), my over-arching art project since 2001, employs even more disparate skills: writing, organizing, supporting, cajoling. This collaboration of artists and illustrators creates diverse art with a shared mission of inspiring individuals and communities to protect, conserve, restore and reconnect natural areas and native species.


Connections between the sciences and the arts have recently been increasingly recognized and highlighted, but interweaving these two seemingly disparate fields has long been the core of Vera's life. Originally from Chicago, she earned a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College. While earning a B.F.A. in studio arts at the University of Minnesota, she worked at the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis. Utilizing both fields of interest, she illustrates organisms (plants, invertebrate and vertebrate animals, fungi), habitats and ecosystems,and biological/ecological processes. Her work appears in Northwoods Wildlife (Janine Benyus), Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Minnesota's Endangered Flora and Fauna; Orchids of Minnesota, Tree and Shrubs of Minnesota (Welby Smith) and Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine; Army Corps of Engineers' Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin; and numerous other nature-focused publications. She is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

Vera also shares the joy of observing plants, animals and habitats through drawing, as she teaches workshops and classes. She coalesced an informal organization, Gathering of Artists and Illustrators of Nature (GAIN) and co-founded and taught in the Botanical & Zoological Arts & Illustration Program at Como Zoo & Conservatory in St Paul, MN. In 2001, implementing ideas generated with 3 other GAIN members, she founded Project Art for Nature (PAN). She continues to lead, organize, and show her 2- and 3-dimensional artworks with PAN.


Airborne- Beetles & Swallowtail

Airborne - Detail: Flower Fly & Beetle, Swallowtail
Cut & Folded Paper
Each panel 5.5" high x 5" wide


Airborne - Detail: Butterflies (Monarch & Skipper), Bumblebee
Cut & Folded Paper
Each panel 5.5" high x 5" wide


Grassland Birds 3
Cut Paper



Riverine - Detail: Cranes & Heron; Turtles
Cut & Folded Paper, Twigs
30" wide x 11" deep (flattened) x 8" high (with supporting twings)


Wings Out of Water
Cut & Folded Paper
9.5" high x 14.5&" wide x approximately 12" deep



Cut & Folded Paper
5.5" high x 30" wide (flattened)