Giving Back... Through my Paintings!

“All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love.” - PETA

I love my pets dearly, and fully believe they are able to experience a human spectrum of feeling and emotion. I have three adorable rescued cats and two charming, smart, sweet Collies that provide comfort, inspiration, company, and peace while I’m painting in my studio. For all they give to me, it only seems right to give back to animals. It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to serve a cause I’m passionate about through a medium I love.  

Millions of pets deserving of homes are instead abused, abandoned, and put into shelters (and unfortunately, not all of these shelters are no-kill organizations). There are older animals whose owners are unable to care for them anymore who struggle to find a new home. There are pets who have been mistreated who need to be relocated to better situations. There are overrun shelters that can’t provide the care, resources, and love to these animals that they deserve. There are countless situations where pets simply deserve better. In order to combat this, I contribute a portion of the proceeds from my original and commissioned works to organizations that support animals in need. Many of my paintings are done for fellow animal lovers and activists, as I do one-of-a-kind portraits of beloved pets. These paintings, born out of an owner’s love for their furry family member, subsequently go towards helping animals find a similarly loving home.

Art has become a wonderful medium through which creative individuals can advocate for animal rights. While my approach is unique from the ones mentioned below, the achievements of fellow artists goes to show that there is no one way to pursue a cause your passionate about. 

Zoe Birrell created an installation of 420 dairy cows composed of vegan fair-trade chocolate. The complete installation weighed 118 pounds (her entire body weight). She uses these sculptures to comment on the daily life of a mistreated dairy cow, showing the loss of the mother’s baby calf and the effects on the cow’s body of being kept perpetually pregnant. 

Connor Jones, a 9-year-old in Virginia, sold crayon sketches at his parent’s yard sale. He raised $100 for a local animal shelter called Angels of Assisi, and was inspired to continue his art for animals. He donates to organizations such as Deaf Dogs Rock booth and All American Mutt Rescue. Connor additionally was offered the opportunity to be an illustrator for a published book about a therapy cat, and now pushes his peers to do their part in saving animals. 

Jo-Anne McArthur uses photography to make powerful statements about animals. She both documents devastating moments of suffering as well as lovely moments of rescue. As well as these photo series, she also has a published book called We Animals displaying animals in human environments. The book details how animals can be exploited for the needs of humans.

Peter Max, known primarily for his pop art, does vibrant portraits of horses done to raise awareness for the mistreatment of New York City carriage horses. He partnered in 2013 with the Wild for Life Foundation to further his advocacy.

I am proud to be an animal activist and contribute towards helping loving, wonderful pets who can’t advocate for themselves. I am proud that I can use my art to work towards a better future for these animals. As humorist Josh Billings says, “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Let’s give back a little extra to these unconditionally caring companions.

Caryl Pomales