Animal Art as Activism


I recently discovered the wonderful blog,  Vegan Activist. I was disappointed when I found out that the author, J, is spending less time blogging and more time making art these days. Then I saw J’s soulful, inspired art and understood.

J uses art to raise awareness about animal rights and was happy to share about this on my blog.  Here’s the scoop:

Animal Art as Activism


I’m J, an artist living in rural Québec, in the heart of maple syrup country, on a small property with my partner and two rescued cats. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was two, and have decided recently to make something of myself as a visual artist.  I’m a full-time baker and I have a large veganic garden too, so I tend the garden in the spring and summer, and work on my art when it’s cold and the garden is asleep.

p1I paint with professional quality acrylics on panels made with recuperated wood, or with canvas salvaged from second hand stores.  I’ve also gotten back into watercolours lately with Colors of Nature, a new range of vegan paints that are non-toxic and environmentally responsible.

So what does my art have to do with veganism?  Apart from being vegan myself, and seeking out supplies that are vegan and environmentally friendly, my art often focuses on free-living animals.  I portray them with the same dignity and passion as my human subjects, and choose images where the animal is returning the gaze of the viewer.  The subject gazes back with intelligence and soulfulness, demanding to be seen as a subject and not an object.

p2I often portray individuals belonging to endangered species, raising awareness of the threats to their existence posed by human interference.  My portrait of Tatango, a bonobo who lived and died in a bonobo orphanage in the Congo, was displayed in a gallery in February, and I was able to talk to reporters who had never heard of these primate cousins of ours.

Bonobos are as closely related to us as are chimpanzees, yet they live much more peaceably, negotiating social relations with sexual contact rather than coercion.  They show us other possibilities than the hierarchy and violence that we claim is “just in our nature” – while we are killing off these long-lost relatives with civil war, habitat destruction and poaching.  I will be sending 10% of the sale of that painting to the bonobo sanctuary and another 10% to an organization working for peace and food security in the region.

Beauty and sadness exist side-by-side when contemplating these citizens of rapidly-vanishing ecosystems.  I hope my art can resonate, can reach people’s hearts and awaken in them a greater sense of responsibility and concern for what happens to these animals and their habitats.

My art reflects my passions and my interests, and the human figure is another of my fascinations.  I would enjoy making a painting – or a series – of nude vegan bodies, so if you would like to be immortalized (by yourself, or with a friend or lover) and are willing to send photos for me to work from, please be in touch.  I can’t pay for models but would be pleased to send a signed print of the finished work if I choose your photo.  Interested?  vegan dot seeds at gmail dot com.


About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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15 Responses to Animal Art as Activism

  1. It’s so sad learning about the critically endangered bonobos and other apes. Thank you for creating these beautiful pieces and making it as a cause to remember them.

  2. the vegan style revivalist says:

    It’s so heart warming to see talent being enjoyed and developed with such great intent.

  3. Reblogged this on Vegan Activist and commented:
    Please check out this guest post that I was invited to write for Honk if You’re Vegan. Celeste is a very gracious person and I’m happy to be featured there!

  4. Re-blogged on “Wolf Is My Soul” and also wanted to comment on this content by saying there are so many individual ways to be an activist, it’s a quite personal choice. I have found that as the years progress so does my own activism, it matures over time to encompass things I’ve formerly overlooked by choice or by ignorance. I’m glad you’re featuring “Vegan Activist” and I really enjoyed her story which from now on will cause me to look at all art differently, wondering what the artist is trying to portray.

    • What a lovely comment! I agree with you that there are many ways to be an activist. When I first went vegan, I joined a vegan meet-up group that was involved with traditional activism activities like handing out pamphlets at busy places. This wasn’t my style, so I’ve found other ways to get the word out (like my blog). I know that you are doing a lot to speak out for animals too, and I respect that.

      I’m glad you liked J’s story – I really enjoyed it too!! Celeste 🙂

  5. What beautiful artwork, and such a lovely way to get people thinking about animals and what we do to them. Thanks for sharing Celeste.

  6. diahannreyes says:

    Loved getting to know about J. Beautiful work and philosophy behind all of it. Thanks for sharing, Celeste!

  7. Wow, so heartwarming to read these comments right now! Thank you to rika, the vegan style revivalist, wolf is my soul, coconutandberries, diahannreyes for saying such thoughtful things. I really appreciate the support. And a big thank you to Celeste for offering me the guest post!
    J. Muir

    PS Rika I love the Red Ape Cinnamon! Thanks for the heads-up about this company trying to do good for another one of our primate cousins!

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