Celebrate the Louder Love of Animals Through Art
For those who can not speak, I give a voice
For those who are deemed ugly, I give beauty
For those who are forgotten, I give remembrance.
I grew up with a veterinarian as a father and an artist as a mother. Having a father as a veterinarian instilled in me a deep affinity for animals. All the animal companions we took in were rejects from Dad’s practice whom clients had left behind.
Helping out at my father’s practice gave me direct behind-the-scenes access into the lives of animals on a daily basis. It is hard to pinpoint an exact time, but I was very young when I slowly realized that animals were not all that different than humans. Time and time again I saw various cats and dogs expressing emotion and feeling beyond basic instinct. Witnessing both happy moments and not so happy moments between owners and pets made me realize the massive impact animals have on humans and vice versa. Some call it energy. Some call it spirit. But we can all agree that there is something connecting us all. To paraphrase: We are not animal beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having an animal experience.
When I was 4 years old, blue and red colors dripped from my fingertips and I instantly was hooked. Pre-school taught me many things, but I had no idea the power that would unleash from the simple act of putting paint on my hands. The rush of making a mark and creating wild imagery from my fingertips astounded me. Art was my destiny.
My grandfather once asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Without hesitation, “An artist!”, I responded. He proceeded to gently tell me that artists didn’t make much money. I nodded quietly, but deep down even at that young age, I was determined to be an artist.
Thankfully, Mom took us kids to after-school art classes and my love for making marks on anything I could get my hands on increased. With dedication and through the support of my parents I attended art school and earned my B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute in 1999.
However, as graduation day drew closer, my grandfather’s statement from when I was a kid reared it’s ugly head and decided to take a seat for a while in my psyche and fear kept me from pursuing my career as a fine artist. I taught myself graphic design in order to get a “real job” to pay bills. I was emotionally stuck behind a computer pushing pixels during the day while anxiously waiting to escape to my easel at nights and weekends. Desperately I had to get back to that visceral action of putting pigment on to surface from when I was a child.
As the years went on I witnessed and read about other artists making livings as artists while noticing that they weren’t that different than me. I knew it could be done, I just didn’t know how. After years in graphic design, my passion could not take it any longer. It finally took over and I decided to cut the leash. I cut the leash that was tethering me to my own inner fear. The fear of not “making it”, the fear of vulnerability, and the fear of fear. Way deep down in my gut, my passion to be an artist started to squeeze the balloon of that fear until it burst. There was no teacher, there was no guide. I simply left the graphic design world and hit the ground running with my fine art career.
Over the years I have accomplished some feats that keep the love of animals through art alive. Some of my favorites include: a local wildlife fun fact scavenger hunt utilizing custom QR codes posted at local venues, live painting sessions through social media, and recently the addition of the 50x project which involves 50 paintings in 50 days.
While my main focus is on animals, I also explore other realms of art including abstraction and landscapes.