The majority of the ‘models’ are rescue pets from the various shelter and rescue organizations that Pet Studio Art supports. From Gordy, a tiny foster kitten to Grace, a beautiful rescued pit bull, each tote bag has a story of it’s own.
In her spare time, Stephanie is animal advocate and volunteers her time photographing pets with several rescues in the Austin, TX area to help them find their forever homes.
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
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Pet Studio Art started out with a gift that I gave to a co-worker who lost his dog. I painted his portrait, then as friends and other co-workers of ours noticed it, they began ordering their own.
For a few years, it was just a side project that I did for fun, but as I realized there was a market for pet portraits, I decided to take it to the next level. I began selling my paintings on Etsy.com and after about 6 months, was able to make the transition to being a full time artist.
In addition to paintings, I am a photographer and volunteer my time with several rescue organizations, the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter being my main focus. I started collecting hundreds of photos that I have taken for various rescues and wanted to find something unique to do with them, so I started the tote bag line.
Each month, I add in new designs and feature a different rescue organization to help raise funds for their programs. To date, I have raised $20,000+ for different charities!
What got you interested in pet products?
I have always been a crazy pet person. I rescued animals as a kid, my first rescue being a Siamese Cat that my sister and I saved from a pack of loose dogs. We named her Big Momma Foxy Brown and after we took her home, she had a litter of 6 kittens, who we found great homes for.
What inspires you?
Most of my inspiration comes from the amazing animals I meet in rescue. There is something special about seeing a pit bull that has been abused her whole life wagging her tail when she sees you coming over to her kennel, or a kitten who was found in a ditch purring as you brush her fur for the first time.
In rescue, you see some terrible, sad things, but watching the resilience in these little furry creatures is just uplifting.
How have you changed over time?
As anyone does, you learn and grow. My painting style has definitely changed, I have grown much more confident in my work and while I do occasionally have negative comments come in (that happens when you hit 1/2 a million fans on social media) I can brush those off now and know that I am doing something I love while helping out the many charities I support.
What other hobbies do you have?
I love to travel. My husband and I Kayak frequently as well.
Where do you sell your work?
We have a few select local events around Austin that we attend regularly – Blue Genie Art Bazaar, Love-A-Bull’s Pittie Pride Parade, Pecan Street Festival and of course online at www.petstudioart.com is our main sales channel.
See Stephanie Conrad’s work on her website: www.petstudioart.com
Interview posted August 2015
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