Whether you have a fur baby, feathered friend or a pet of a different variety, it’s safe to say they are usually a favored member of the family. Some pet owners have taken to having art pieces commissioned in their honor. A canvas of a goofy faced bulldog to place over his doggy bed or a memorial oil painting of a beloved pet after its untimely passing; these artists have created it all. I had the opportunity to speak to a few local artists who specialize in painting animal portraits. Stephanie Leyden, Marlene Kurland, Avi Ram and Amanda Anthony all gave me a few minutes of their time to learn more about some of their favorite pieces and the passion that goes into their work.
These incredible artists have a few things in common. They all have a fondness for animals themselves. These pet portraits are not just ways to pay the bills, but are a way to express the love between owners and pets through their art. Creating custom art of well loved pets for their owners can be a daunting task but each of these artist rise to the occasion and bring their own flair to it!
Stephanie has been drawing animals for as long as she can remember and was able to make a career out of it soon after graduating from college. Her favorite medium is acrylic paint on canvas or wood and loves that she has flexibility in making watercolor looking works or sloppy, thickly painted pieces. She gained notoriety with a series of canvas paintings called “Animals in Aviators” and soon received requests for custom artwork featuring their clients’ pets in aviator sunglasses.
Her favorite work to date is a painting commissioned for her brother who requested a portrait of several beloved family pets playing poker with a chunky raccoon as the dealer. She enjoys when clients bring their furry friends to her studio when planning new works but can also work off of photographs.
Some more of her featured art can be seen here:
Marlene is an active local artist that works over 20 different art shows across South Florida annually. Her niche in painting pet portraits was discovered after she painted a portrait of her son with their pet basset hound.
She can craft her works using acrylic or pastel but her favorite medium is oil painting. Her portfolio features many pet portraits but she also commissions pieces that capture an interaction between the owner and pet. This is fairly unique when it comes to most pet portrait artists as the human form adds an additional complexity to the design.Her favorite work was an oil painting she created of a man with his pet horse.
More of Marlene’s art can be seen here:
Avi Ram taught himself how to paint using an airbrush at 18 years old. He is most known for his airbrush art on human canvases and was featured on season 2 of Skin Wars. He travels to design murals, body art, portraits and fine art. The Covid-19 pandemic caused his fast paced career to come to an abrupt halt as most events and traveling engagements had to be canceled.
He’s been filing his time now making pet portrait pieces as they can be commissioned at a safe distance. His favorite styles are realism, pop art or custom art using bright and bold airbrush colors on canvas.
More of Avi’s work can be seen here:
Amanda found her passion for pet portraits just 2 years ago after using art as a cathartic outlet to grieve the loss of her beloved Yorkie, Kate.
The experience led to her flourishing as a new artist. She works mainly with acrylic paint on canvas and has now ventured into creating postcards and greeting cards featuring prints of her paintings with custom lettering.
She shared that a few of her favorite portraits she has crafted have been of the more peculiar pets like parrots, a gecko, a turtle, and a chameleon. Most of her work is based off of photos that feature the animal with an expression. She hopes to capture each pet’s individual personalities in her paintings.
Check out more of Amanda’s art work here:
Each of these phenomenal artists bring their own vibe and style to each portrait. If you would like to see what can be done for your own pet, give them a ring or shoot them a message. The featured artists also have Instagram art galleries if you’d like to browse through more incredible art pieces by local South Floridians!
Christine Chaparro is an Oakland Park native and lives in the neighborhood with her husband and three kids. She is slated to graduate from Florida International University this summer with her Bachelor’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric and hopes to show her children that any obstacle can be overcome with the right attitude and hard work.
When she is not writing or submerged in school work, she is creating memories with her family. She enjoys crafting, building, renovating, gardening and cooking. Competition is big in the Chaparro house whether it be super-soaker fights, pranks or board games. Miami Heat basketball and Florida Panthers hockey are her two favorite teams to cheer on. Her family loves the Oakland Park events and supporting local businesses.