Tag Archives: “animal cruelty”

Mother Nature Network

“See animals and the environment through a surrealist’s eyes”; Mother Nature Network

I’m happy to announce that I was recently interviewed by the Mother Nature Network for a feature on their site.  Starre Vartan asked me about my work and the connection to animals and ecological welfare.  Here is just a sample of what we discussed:

MNN: In Our Veins is dominated by horses, deer, bears, wolves, rabbits, cows and humans. Why these animals?

AG: I feel like a lot of these animals blur the line between what would be considered domestic and what would be considered wild. As more wild habitat is being encroached upon by new houses and shopping malls, these animals are being forced out of their homes and find themselves having to adapt to this new urban landscape. They are wild, yet at the same time, people either think of them as cute nomads or dangerous intruders, depending on the species.

I’ll use cows because I feel like they are the epitome of the agribusiness animal. They are used for meat, dairy, and leather, and it’s because of them that forests are cleared and “predatory” animals are killed — all for the sake of ranching.

As for incorporating humans, I do so to emphasize that we are all part of the animal kingdom. I’ll sometimes combine a human with another animal to illustrate that connection. Other times, I may just paint the human brain as a symbol of sentience and our moral obligation to the welfare of these animals.

Read the entire interview here: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/surrealist-artist-amy-guidry-animals-and-our-environment.


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Southern Vegan Artist: Party of One?

"Food or Pet? How Do You Decide?" by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 40"w x 30"h; Sold; (c) Amy Guidry 2016
“Food or Pet? How Do You Decide?” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 40″w x 30″h; Sold; (c) Amy Guidry 2016

I’m a vegan artist living in “Sportsman’s Paradise.”  For those that don’t know, that would be Louisiana.  Not exactly a pleasant state nickname if you are a vegan.  Nevertheless, I’ve managed to live a vegan lifestyle here and have even made a niche for myself as an artist.  And I actually like living here… though I could do without the humidity.  So how is this possible, you may ask.

For starters, being a vegan, environmental artist is no harder than any other artist.  Art is supposed to make a statement, and it’s not going to be something everyone necessarily agrees with.  So the fact that my work is influenced by my personal beliefs, is not any different than any other artist creating work about what matters most to them.  And galleries are choosy about what they show regardless, so again, it doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan artist or not.

Louisiana is known for it’s food, unfortunately none of that involves tofu.  Yet.  So, yes, that is bothersome for me, but it doesn’t stop me from living here.  If anything, it just gives me more reason to keep doing what I do.  Add to that the BP oil spill, hurricanes, and wetland loss, I have even more reason to be here and speak up for our animals and our environment.

I have met some resistance, but I don’t know any vegan that hasn’t, so I wouldn’t say that’s exclusive to Louisiana.  Usually it comes from older family members that have no filter.  A lot of people seem to be coming around, while others tolerate it but don’t understand it.  I’ve been a vegan for 17 years now and have seen a definite shift in the mindset of the general population.  For starters, most people now know how to correctly pronounce vegan and might know someone that is.  A lot are open to at least trying vegan recipes.  (Everyone loves my dinner parties!)  And some are starting to become aware of the huge environmental impact that factory farming has on our planet.

Overall, I’ve had a very positive response to my art, both in and outside of Louisiana, which is promising for many reasons.  I would love to see more vegans here, but I’m sure a lot of people would say the same about where they live, too.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I do.  With every painting, I have another opportunity to reach out to the world, and inspire them to do more for animals and the planet.  And on that note, it’s time to get back to the studio.


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There’s an ass involved in this exhibit. Spoiler alert: it’s not the donkey

Donkey exhibit image via Their Turn.net
Donkey exhibit image via Their Turn.net

The Frieze art fair in New York has a donkey on display as an “exhibit.”  The “artist” is Maurizio Cattelan.  The donkey is left standing around in an empty room with a chandelier above.  What?  This has no meaning, no message, nothing.  The artist thinks it connects humans to animals.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Instead, this donkey is on display, an object for our entertainment.  This is no different than going to a zoo, other than the pointless chandelier.

Many people are up in arms over the welfare of the donkey.  Of course the show promoters argue that the donkey has it “good” and much better than being in a barn.  Then again, are animals meant to just live out their lives in a barn?

This is not the first time animals have been used as “art.”  Last year there were a dozen horses cooped up in a gallery.  And in 2014, tortoises had i-Pads screwed into their shells for an “installation” piece by Cai Guo-Qiang.  These are just recent examples that have made headlines.  Unfortunately, there are others.  In every one of these cases, the artists and the gallery owners all argue that the animals are fine and unharmed.  There is no way that they can know this.  They just issue some sanitary, generic statement to put the public at ease and go about their day.  The animals are not their highest concern.

There is no reason why live animals should be used as art.  If you were to replace the animal with a child, you would get a call from Social Services, so how is it any different for any other living being?  There are ways to get your message across without using live animals.  You’re an artist, get creative and figure out another way.  I paint animals, I focus on our connection to the natural world, and I also deal with difficult issues such as habitat destruction and extinction, just to name a few.

If you really want to make a statement, how about going vegan?  How about not supporting companies that test on animals?  How about rescuing animals rather than using them?  That’s a far greater statement than this so-called art.

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Influence

"Shelter" by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 10" x 10"; (c) Amy Guidry 2014
“Shelter” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 10″ x 10″; (c) Amy Guidry 2014

One of the most popular questions I get about my art is what influences me as an artist.  I could give a long list of disparate things, but really the biggest influence is nature.  From a young age, I was concerned about the welfare of the planet, as well as animal welfare.  Recycling and purchasing eco-friendly, cruelty-free products became a way of life for me.

Eventually a trip to the university library would lead to a significant change in my life.  I came across a book about the the conditions of slaughterhouses and the horrible consequences they have on not only animals, but the workers, and the planet as well.  Thinking this was a fluke, I looked for more information.  After a lot of additional research, I kept finding the same horrible accounts, over and over again.  I immediately became a vegetarian.  A few years later I decided to take it up a notch and become a vegan.

By the time I started painting professionally, my artwork was becoming more surreal but also heavily influenced by my concern for the environment and animal welfare.  I always used my art as a platform for raising awareness and asking questions, but I was looking to challenge myself even more both technically and conceptually.  My current body of work, “In Our Veins,” explores the connections between all life forms and the process of the life cycle.  This includes the interdependence of the human race to each other and to the rest of the animal kingdom, as well as the planet itself.

As my work reaches new audiences, there is a new opportunity for a dialogue between my art and the viewer.  From there, maybe it will inspire them, get them questioning, or thinking about how they can bring forth positive change in the world.

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New Work

I’ve added several new small paintings to my In Our Veins series.  They were recently featured in my holiday edition newsletter (which you can receive here: http://amyguidry.com/contact.html).  Each painting is 4″ x 4,” acrylic on canvas.  Effect is currently on hold but Continuance, Change, and Memento are available.  View the complete series online here: http://amyguidry.com/wild_west.html.

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In progress

Painting in progress by Amy Guidry; acrylic on canvas; 10″w x 20″h; (c) Amy Guidry 2013

I recently posted my latest work in progress.  Since doing the basic sketch on canvas, I’ve added a rough first layer of paint and then moved on to the background and some of the animals.  The deer is currently in progress and I will move on to the remaining animals next.  It is an acrylic on canvas, 10″ wide by 20″ high.  This painting is part of my In Our Veins series which can be found here: www.amyguidry.com/wild_west.html.

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Sold

“Division” by Amy Guidry; acrylic on canvas; 4″ x 4″; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2013

The last available 4″ x 4″ painting in my In Our Veins series has just been sold.  Division is an acrylic on canvas and was created around the end of 2012.  The buyer had asked about my thoughts behind the piece so I thought I’d share them here as well.  ‘Division’ refers to not only the physical separation (humans tend to refer to animals as parts- rump, breast, wing, etc.) but also the divide that we create as far as animals’ worth is concerned.  Why is there a divide between animals that we regard as either pets or as food or as working animals?  There is even a divide among humans’ beliefs due to religious or moral distinctions.  I depict animals throughout the series, and as seen here, as simply heads or limbs to represent the common viewpoint while emphasizing their importance through their expressions or their eyes, for instance, illustrating that they are indeed sentient beings.

View the painting online and the rest of the series here: www.amyguidry.com/division.html

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Anthropomorphism

“Anthropomorphism” by Amy Guidry; acrylic on canvas; 6″ x 6″; SOLD; (c) Amy Guidry 2013

My latest painting in my In Our Veins series is now online– Anthropomorphism and it is an acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 6.”  As seen throughout the series, animal heads and limbs are representative of the viewpoint that animals are a means to an end.  Instead of a jackrabbit, I chose to use a dwarf rabbit, or to some, endearingly known as a “bunny.” The “bunny,” being a popular, cute animal generates sympathy, but even more so when dressed in children’s clothing.  Is there a difference between species?  Is one more important than another?  Why is it that when something is small or cute or childlike, we think more fondly of it?  View the painting online here: http://www.amyguidry.com/anthropomorphism.html.

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New Work

 

I’ve recently added two new paintings to my In Our Veins series.  Transient is an acrylic on canvas, 6″ wide by 4″ high, and Segments is an acrylic on canvas, 4″ wide by 6″ high.  Both paintings tackle our vision of animals as just pieces and parts (ex. head, rump, wing, tongue, breast, etc.).  In Transient, the butterflies exiting the body represent the life that ends when animals are hunted as trophies.  At the same time, the butterflies represent the metamorphosis of one life energy into another.  Segments features a fractured horse while focusing on facial expression and positioning to emphasize the importance of animals.  View closeups of Transient and Segments online here www.amyguidry.com/transient.html and here www.amyguidry.com/segments.html, respectively.

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Fragmented

"Fragmented" by Amy Guidry; acrylic on canvas; 8"w x 6"h; $600; (c) Amy Guidry 2012

It’s business as usual for me today, though I have to admit that I’ve got the weather channel on in the background as I wait for Isaac.  So while we still have power, I wanted to post my latest painting- Fragmented, acrylic on canvas, 8″w x 6″h.  The initial image for this actually came to mind while I was starting to fall asleep.  The common notion that animals are a means to an end and nothing more than “parts,” I felt that the horse faces and hooves illustrated this concept while at the same time focusing on their importance.  Despite the relatively small size, I really honed in on the details in the horse faces and eyes, making them as expressive as possible.  View a larger image here: http://www.amyguidry.com/fragmented.html.

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