I'm a Toronto based artist that specializes in modern abstract dog and cat paintings. I create narratives through my painting practice of the impact companion animals have on us and in wider society. I'm a scenic artist by trade and head the scenic art department at Soulpepper Theatre.
After studying fine arts briefly at York University, I set my goal on becoming a self taught artist. The focus of my artistic practice was to explore the importance of companion animals., and the life altering experience people have bonding with their pet. I saw a void in contemporary art world, paintings with companion animals as the main subject didn't exist, they weren't valued on the same level as people portraits or even still life. My goal is to document sentient creatures and give them a place of dignified prominence in the composition, elevate their status by placing them in a historical art context on par with human portraiture subjects. I consider my artworks portraiture, not pet portraits. I've been committed to this ongoing artistic project since the nineties exploring the question; what is it about companion animals that affects us on such a deep and profound level? My practice also includes the exploration of non-objective painting, inspired by the 1950's abstract expressionism movement in New York, colour field painting, and current contemporary artists.
I've exhibited in Toronto, New York, Maine, Florida, and California. Since exhibiting my work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 2002, I began taking on commissions from collectors across North America and Internationally. My works can be found in private collections across the US, Canada, Bermuda, Germany, and England. His clients include Ann Rohmer, Anne Wroczkowski, and Chef Art Smith (former personal chef for Oprah Winfrey). My work has been featured in House and Home, Style at Home, Boston Herald, Animal Fair, Toronto Star, and he has appeared on the Pet Network and CP 24 live.
Why domestic animals as portrait subject
~Making the choice to paint companion animals was a way to try and bring some beauty into the world, shine a light on companion animals lives and their stories, and bring awareness of how we treat sentient animals, something thats very important to me~
The earliest known cave art by modern humans are of mammals, dated to nearly 44,000 years old. The objective of my figurative art, is to capture the moments, document lives and tell their stories through painting. Specifically, how companion animals are considered members of a family and become a part of peoples identity, life's memories, and how they play an important role in the mental and emotional well being of their owners. The universe has surrounded us with the perfect teachers, animals, they live in the present moment and they pull us in with them, into their bliss. My passion is attempting to capture on canvas the emotion, connection, essence, personality, and unique beauty of sentient beings. My work explore themes of joy, connection, love, laughter, memories, meaningful moments, and family.
I've been a life long animal lover (had way too many pets to list), As a young child I immersed myself in drawing animals, dolphins, birds, Snoopy, loved Charlottes Web, and when I was ten years old wrote a letter to the Prime Minister expressing my objection to the seal hunt. In my early twenties I quit eating meat becoming a vegetarian, and in 2017 committed to a plant based diet and vegan lifestyle.
A portion of all commission sales are donated to charity:
Animal Justice who lead the legal fight for animal protection in Canada
Project Jessie (Animal Alliance of Canada)
Reach for the Rainbow (integrated summer camp for children with disabilities)
New York City animals shelters (NY Pet Fashion Week art auction)
K9 Rescue Me Walk-a-Thon (breed specific rescues in Toronto)
This was my dog Noah, buddy and faithful studio companion for over ten years. An adopted rescue dog who ended up adopting me. He had a vibrant energetic happy personality, understood over 100 words, affectionate, and a very sweet boy. He was adopted through Project Jessie which is a rescue network that rescues primarily from shelters that send their animals to research, or would euthanize for inappropriate reasons such as overcrowding, treatable medical issues, or behavioural concerns. Noah was a dog in the shelter system that was about to be taken by an Ontario lab where companies do animal testing something shocking legal still, Project Jessie rescued him from that life of suffering for which I'm eternally grateful, due to their dedicated advocacy he was able to live a safe and happy life.