Aimée Rolin Hoover developed two obsessions early in life: drawing and animals. If she wasn't befriending a wild raccoon, she was scribbling its likeness in her childhood sketchbooks.

Her art obsession only grew, eventually leading her to California State University Long Beach, where she earned her art degree in 1993 under the instruction of Marie Thibeault and Beverly Naidus.

But it wasn't until 1999 that Aimée was first able to combine her love of art and animals professionally, when she "accidentally" became a pet portrait artist after a friend asked her to paint his dogs.

The resulting portrait lead to a rewarding, 13 year career during which she painted over 140 custom portraits for private collectors all over the world. During her time as a pet portrait artist, Aimée's goal with each painting was to try to elevate the genre to that of human portraiture.

At the time, and perhaps still, pet portraiture was not thought of as serious work, by a serious artist. It was something most gallery owners looked down upon, and seen as “fluffy” hobby art...something non-artists did on the side. I was painting animals so I suppose, technically speaking, it was fluffy. But I became weirdly determined to create portraits more indicative of people portraits...work that was strong enough to hang in a gallery setting, that just happened to feature animals—not humans. That was the bar I set for myself every time I stepped up to the easel.

Aimée continues to use animal imagery in her work today, finding unending inspiration within the animal kingdom with which to reimagine the modern wildlife genre.

She chooses her motifs—be it a raven, bear, cow or horse—to convey certain states of wordless emotion. States that she feels animals more truthfully and immediately express because their lack of verbal language and human agenda. In her most recent series, Fly Masks, she depicts entirely faceless (masked) equines in an attempt to discover a new balance between what is revealed and concealed of each animal.

Much like her childhood drawings, Aimée's work continues to be a strong reflection of her fascination with fauna, its endless diversity, and its interconnection with humankind.

Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Aimée currently lives and works in southern California. Her paintings hang in collections in the U.S, Canada, Europe and South America.

*For Aimée's CV please click here. To view behind the scenes studio photos, click here.