Juan Varela Simó was born in Madrid in 1950. He was trained in biology and worked in seabird colonies in North Africa, participating in several conservation oriented biological research. At the same time he began a career as a scientific illustrator for numerous publications, demonstrating a special passion and skill in bird representation.

In 1986 he was hired as Director of SEO/BirdLife, keeping the post for five years before starting a full time art career.
His works have illustrated more than 40 books and numerous periodicals. He has authored many books including Birds of Spain, one of the best-selling ornithological publications in Spain.

He was the first Spanish artist selected by the jury of Birds in Art annual exhibition of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin and by the Society of Wildlife Artists for its annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. His paintings has been shown in more than 60 museums and galleries in Spain and other European countries, as well as in the United States and has curated various exhibitions on art and nature. His artwork forms part of private and public collections and it has been acquired by the Woodson Art Museum for its permanent collection.

Since 1992 he has been team-part of international projects of the Artist for Nature Foundation (Netherlands) and he is its official representative in Spain. His work is based on field observations, for what he’s travelled to several places in USA, Scandinavia, Tanzania, Turkey or South America among others.
He’s got awards from the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and the BBVA Foundation for their contribution to the conservation of Biodiversity through art.


Paintings in private and public collections

Sa Nostra, Palma de Mallorca.

Caja de Ahorros de Segovia, Segovia.

SEO/BirdLife, Madrid.

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau.

Artist for nature Foundation, Holanda.

Minsterio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid.

Fundación Territorio y Paisaje, Caixa Catalunya, Barcelona.

Colaboración con organismos y entidades

Ministerio de Medio Ambiente

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

BirdLife International

Junta de Andalucía


Junta de Castilla y León

Junta de Extremadura

Antigua Diputación de Madrid

Antiguo ICONA

Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Ayuntamiento de Murcia

Ayuntamiento de Barcelona

Banco Central Hispano

Caixa Catalunya

Caja de Ahorros de Segovia

Caixa de Balears

IUCN (International Union for Nature Conservation)