The Animal Care for Artists Initiative - In August 2009, , I was contacted by Laura Menck, one of the board of directors of The Animal Care for Artists Initiative, a new non-profit dedicated to providing health insurance for pets of those in the arts.

Laura couldn't have known it, but she couldn't have found a cause I'm more passionate about if she tried. Being self-employed for over half a decade now, I'm all too familiar with the delicate balance that it sometimes takes to make sure you have adequate health insurance for not just yourself, but for your pets.

Laura and the ACAI was a dream client to work for--all they asked was for it to include their mascot Dolly (the dog on the left--so cute!) and it to have a sort of old-timey, WPA-ish feel to it. Of course, that's music to my ears, and I was so excited to work on this I ended up putting some other work aside to get to this.

It all came together quite quickly, and even the one element usually the most hard to pin down--the right font--fell into place. I sent it off to Laura and the ACAI, and they loved it, and its now on their website. I hope that the ACAI is a huge success, and helps creative people like me the chance to provide for their pets--they deserve it.

Woof! Woof!


Peeps - This started out as a goofy request from my art gallery guy Jim; apparently where he is in Michigan is the site of some poultry/chicken festival and he wanted all of his artists who have work up in his gallery submit a "chicken piece" to commemorate this event, which is in July 2003.

After doing a little work on it, I decided on the idea of putting the features of a chick (or "peep" as I like to call them) in a sea of yellow. While not a chicken per se, I liked the idea enough to move forward.

After showing the piece to my darlin' Tracy, she reported to me that she thought it was amazing. Now she is normally very appreciative of my work, but the vehemence of the her response told me this was different. I soon decided, gee, if she loves it that much, she should have it (she let me know that if the piece didn't sell in the gallery, she would be glad to take it off my hands) to go on her wall.

I've since done more of these, and she loves each one I do. Simple colors, simple concept, and how can you not love a peep?


Moo - I had done this cow piece as part of a birthday present for Tracy in 2005, and as much as she loved the whole thing, it was this cow she really fell in love with. So much so, she wanted me to make a t-shirt out of it, as well.

I decided to add the "Future Farmers" tag, an addition Tracy loved. She even really liked the font, and she's real picky about her fonts.


Giraffe - I always try and capture the singular, most defining characteristic of any animal. When doing a giraffe, it was obvious...

Despite that, I think this works pretty well, seeing only the top part of the giraffe, not really knowing how much more is down there!


Gorilla - I had worried this idea would prove more frightening than comforting--the stern gorilla staring straight into your eyes.

But I wanted to try and get as close as you could possibly get, and maybe get a chance to behold the wonder of these remarkable creatures.


Manatee - I've always found underwater creatures to be especially fascinating--living in a world that is so vast, yet we know so little about it.

I liked this approach--as if you're a swimmer and happen to come across one of the beautiful manatees. Nothing bad is happening here; you're looking at him, he's looking at you.


Mulder - My sister Susan was to curious as to why, with all the animal art I've been doing, that the fine breed Bassetus Houndus (Latin for "one whose ears drip into the water bowl one is drinking from") was not represented. Fair enough question, so I took some pics of Susan's fine example of the breed, Mulder, and sat down to work.

I worked up a perfectly good, standard portrait of Mulder, setting him on a nice pastel green background. Just to goof around, I thought why not try the exact opposite type-background, one totally incongruous to the dour face that belongs to all Bassets? To that end, I just went as gaudy and noisy as I could--crazy, strobe-light-esque rays of color, pimped-out font, and even a "lens flare" effect to give it that "Mulder--SUPERSTAR!" feel. I hear music when I see this piece, Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" or perhaps Outkast's "Hey Ya."


Penguin - I regarded this as a design piece as much an illustration, with the ice floe cutting across the picture in a very abstract way.

I also wanted, with this picture at least, to play with the shape we traditionally think of when thinking of penguins--making this one rounder and squatter, coming partly out at the viewer.


Polar Bear - This is probably my all-time favorite animal piece, it has the movement and excitement that I was going for. I was hoping to also convey the sheer power and majesty these beautiful animals have.

Added bonus--the paint streaks seen on the background I think make it look the the polar bear is bravely bearing (sorry) a harsh winter tundra!

e:namtab29@comcast.netp: 856.261.2265 • all material © 2012 Rob Kelly