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I developed two obsessions very early in life: drawing and animals. If I wasn't lying on the living room floor scribbling away in my sketchbook, you could find me outside trying to befriend local wildlife. Raccoons, squirrels, stray dogs, you name it.

But wasn't until decades later, after earning my art degree rom California State University Long Beach, that I was finally able to combine my love of art and animals professionally when my CPA asked me to paint a portrait of his dogs.

The resulting painting lead to a rewarding, 13 year career as a custom pet portrait artist. During which I was fortunate enough to work directly with collectors all over the world, creating over 150 custom paintings of their beloved canines.

Presenting “Sadie” on the  Bonnie Hunt Show  (NBC)

Presenting “Sadie” on the Bonnie Hunt Show (NBC)

But in 2012, I began to feel the pull towards new ideas and unexplored subjects, and decided to take break from custom canine portraiture in order to experiment and further evolve my work.

What quickly followed was the development of my first Farm series, which completely reinvigorated me as an painter, and became the impetus to open my work up to the entire animal kingdom. Which is where I continue to find unending inspiration today.

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I’ve thought a lot about why I’ve consistently been drawn to animals as subjects for two decades. While I’m a huge animal lover, it goes beyond that for me.

Animals cannot help but express the truth in any given situation. Unlike humans, they can’t use verbal language to act differently than how they actually feel. So they always offer what I feel is a direct line to their emotional state.

Painting a subject whose emotional state is always truthful—but perhaps not always clear, since we don’t share the exact same language—is enormously compelling. And encourages me to chase authenticity within my own work every day in the studio.

My hope is that my work ultimately offers the viewer a chance to sense that direct connection to the animal. And—in a larger sense—that my paintings might serve as reminder of the incredible diversity of our animal kingdom, and our interconnection with all creatures, big and small.

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Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Aimée currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

If you’d like to hear more about Aimée and her work, please visit her podcast interviews:

Your Creative Push podcast / Episode 172

Your Creative Push podcast / Episode 315

Creativity School with Grace Chon podcast / Lesson 7

(For Aimée’s CV please click here.)