Part 2 in a series
The Northwest is home to amazing artists whose works celebrate animals in countless ways, from whimsical to majestic. Their subjects are diverse, as are their media: everything from scrap metal to acrylics, and from newsprint to clay and bronze. What unites them is a love of animals that led them down a serendipitous career path. Animal art chose them, they say, like a happy dog or friendly goat, landing right in their laps.
And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The sculptor who created Zelda, the iconic bronze bulldog outside Portland’s Heathman Hotel, says his medium is the humblest on Earth. It comes from the ground, is walked upon, dug up, shaped and fired into a durable work, yet can still return to dirt.
Jim Gion sculpted as a child and later as a young man during wartime, serving in Vietnam. There he studied with a local sculptor who taught him to make bronze castings.
Today, with an expansive portfolio and major commissions from airlines to local churches, Gion works the Portland Saturday Market, offering $50-$100 sculptures of any form the customer chooses. “In the first month,” he recalls, “I sculpted one person and 12 dogs.” The humble dog, in humble clay, is his customers’ favorite work of art.
Alix Mosieur has been drawing and painting since age five. Largely self-taught, subjects for her still lives range from dogs, cats, and wildlife, but she says horses have been a lifelong passion.
Mosieur does commissioned work on paper, canvas, wood, and gourds. She and her husband Bruce operate their business, Red Horse Art Co, and while they do not currently have a website, you can find her work online at Etsy, and in store at The Nest in Eugene and many galleries and gift shops along the Oregon Coast.
The Mosieurs reside in Lorane, OR, along with two elderly cats, two rambunctious dogs, and two rescue horses.
Beth Redwood’s photography carries a message. Years ago, she attended a workshop where famous photographers showed stirring photographs of endangered species. “We were told it was our social responsibility to use our photos as a tool to awaken people to their suffering,” she remembers.
A longtime animal advocate, Redwood approached an instructor to ask about cows and sheep, pigs and turkeys. “Aren’t they suffering and scared and worth helping?”
She thought his reply was dismissive: “That’s your thing. You do that.”
But soon she felt empowered by his comment and decided to focus work accordingly.
“That’s when I dedicated my efforts to helping alleviate the suffering of farmed animals,” she says.
Redwood’s photos grace books, magazines, greeting cards, and websites, always with the goal of helping people see animals in a new way, to see their “beauty and individuality.”