• Rachel Lingenfelter

Artist Feature - Rachel DiAndrea

This week, First Frontier Forward got the chance to interview with Rachel DiAndrea, owner of Pet Art Studios, for our #ArtistFeature!

DiAndrea started as an illustration major and eventually graduating Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in communications design in 1985. She had grown up with a love for animals from an early age, with the goals of becoming a veterinarian, but after taking an art class in high school, she was convinced art was going to be her passion. Her skills at a young age were more than her instructors had seen anyone else have. "I was competing at the level of an adult even though I was in high school. I started to learn, from my instructors in school, that I could go on and do this professionally."

Ever since then, she has become well known in the animal art world. Her paintings have been featured in numerous museums, dog shows and art shows across the country. But that wasn't all that she was doing. During the day, she works at DiAndrea Media, a local marketing and branding company, with her husband. "I'm at the stage l where I can be a little more selective of the types of projects to draw in PetArtStudios.  I'm constantly surrounded by creativity with both my day job and my artwork so, even though it may be mentally draining at times, I'm never far away from inspiration."

DiAndrea says that living in Central PA is great because she is only a few hours from big cities like Washington, D.C., NYC, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh where she goes to promote her art,  at art shows, and also dog shows. There, she talks about how she has met so many incredible people who are just as passionate about animals as she is. "I've promoted myself for 25 years and being in this business, you meet some of the most incredible people who all agree with the same things you do." She goes on to talk about her painting and how important her job is when she is painting a pet for a client. "Our pets are not on this planet for very long and as an artist, painting someone's pet is a special responsibility. I'm responsible for capturing the soul of that animal in an image."

Having become an accomplished artist, DiAndrea shows how much her community means to her and gives back. She successfully ran a recent fundraiser called, "Gallery on the Green," an art show that raised more than $1,600.00 for the Central PA Humane Society. Visiting the rescue, you can see some of her pieces displayed in CPHS's puppy room. With the creation of her book, she has had multiple original pieces displayed in the children's room at the Altoona Library. "It's not that I look for recognition, I'm not as interested in winning awards anymore," she says. "But it's that I have the ability to give back to pet lovers and my community who has given me so much in return."

Her advice to young artists is as follows: "Approach it from a business standpoint. You can't just step into a creative position. You have to have the talent and the focus to move forward. Anyone can be an artist, but its whether you have the dedication, business sense, and talent that's the deciding factor." All of us at First Frontier Forward would like to thank Rachel DiAndrea for her time. Please be sure to go and visit her website http://petartstudios.com/ and check out her amazing artwork! #FirstFrontierForward #ArtistFeature

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