1) Pink Leaf Designs: When did you first know you wanted to be a Pet Artist, and what are your inspirations?
Monica Hickey: I started out painting pets as favor for my mother who wanted to give her close friends a portrait of their “baby”. It was such fun to capture the personality and essence of the pet and I had a great time painting, very cathartic. All artwork is approximately 9” x 12”.
2) Pink Leaf Designs: If the sky’s the limit, what piece of pet artwork would you create now?
Monica Hickey: I would love to paint a huge collage of all sorts of images (pets, people, places, things) and use materials that I don’t usually implement i.e. wood, oils, fabrics and found objects.
3) PLD: Name a place/ a thing/ a person usually inspires your work?
MH: My family. I know it sounds trite but it’s true. My children love to see what I create and the look on their faces makes me proud.
4) PLD: What LIVE celebrity would you like to send a piece of your artwork for FREE?
MH: I choose any actor/actress who can’t stand the Kardashians–but seriously any actor who acts for the love of the craft not the desire for fame and money. Ian McKellen and Laura Linney are two of my favorites.
5) PLD: If you have your way, what famous and successful Pet Artist/ or other type of portrait artist would you like to be?
MH: I would love to be an artist in the genre of Frida Kahlo. Her artwork (mostly self-portraits) is so passionate and personal. It is bright and colorful yet dark and sordid at the same time. She shows all the good and bad feelings we experience, her paintings are so very human. I would love to be able to open up and capture life the way that she was able to do.
6) PLD: You get stuck creating art today, what do you do to get unstuck?
MH: To get unstuck I always remove myself from the project to regain perspective and to come up with new inspiration so I… play with my children (ages 8 and 9), go for a walk/run with my dog Riley (Australian Shepherd) or talk on the phone to my sister.
7) PLD: Which music CD are you listening now?
MH: Currently- Mumford and Sons, soft but catchy. However, I like a very eclectic range of music. Echo and the Bunnymen is my favorite band of all time but Depeche Mode and NIN are also some bands I like.
8) PLD: Which piece of artwork at your online / off-line store is your most favorite and why?
MH: The portrait of my own dog Riley. He is almost 12 years old and is the most wonderful dog I have ever known. He is so full of enthusiasm and the portrait captures the love always there in his eyes.
9) PLD: What advise would you give to other Pet Artist newbies who wants to setup a new business store (online & off-line) during this difficult economic climate?
MH: Everything worth having is always hard, but all the more worth the effort… do what you enjoy and then you will have no regrets. Just put yourself out there.
10) PLD: What is in your tool box?
MH: I paint at my kitchen counter (right in the hub of all activity) and I store my supplies in an antique armoire.
11) PLD: What else would you like the readers know about your work?
MH: My website is moniahickeyartdesign.com. I use favorite photos to create the portraits (all the more personal since chosen by the buyer) and each piece is original, not to be resold.