Growing up, I took a stab at a lot of hobbies: soccer, volleyball, piano, guitar, cheerleading, basketball, getting stoned in my parents’ idle Volkswagen van - to name a few. But after a while I started to realize that there was really only one thing I cared about. Art.
By the time I took a sincere interest, my parents were so thrilled to see me care about something they nearly leapt to the moon. At age 16 I got to spend a summer in Providence, RI at Rhode Island School of Design. Throughout high school I got to spend weekends working out of my art teacher’s studio. And on school nights I got to paint nude figures with a bunch of old ladies who were perhaps not as passionate about figure drawing as they were Kendall Jackson chardonnay. But it was in my developmental years where I started to develop a skillset for portraiture, and I’m really thankful to my parents for fostering my artistic curiosities. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
When I went to college I understood that art was a hobby and not a career path, so I took my fundamentals classes and tried to figure out what to make of myself once I entered the real world. It’s probably no surprise that during that time I just about failed out of school. I remember coming home after my first semester and telling my parents that if I couldn’t major in art, I wouldn’t make it through school. They begrudgingly gave me their blessing and then I crushed it until I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. Hairflip.
A few years later, in 2012, I started portraitsbyJAS out of my house in Atlanta in an attempt to earn a little extra income. I started selling portraits for $65 and got over a hundred orders my first year in business. My customers were mostly in the South but through my Etsy platform I began selling portraits all over the East Coast. In 2017 I moved to Oakland, California, and my reach broadened to the West Coast. I am proud to be selling portraits all over the country now!
So there it is. I can’t express how thankful I am to be a portrait artist working with pet lovers every day. The joy I get when I work with customers to bring their pet to life on canvas is immeasurable. Not to mention the joy I get when I come home from work, kick off my shoes, put on a record, and start painting. Speaking of…I gotta get back to painting! Brb.
JA + Hank