Cats

You’ll Fall in Love With These Budget-Friendly Custom Pet Portraits


Disclosure: Go Gray Artwork is a sponsor of Petful’s Halloween photo contest this year. The artist has generously agreed to provide a really cool prize in our contest, but Petful received no compensation for this article.

“There’s something about a turquoise and green dog with an orange nose that makes me love the whimsy of multiple colors,” says Allison Gray. Photos courtesy of the artist.

Allison Gray started writing for Petful in 2015. Not long after that, I learned that she also dabbles in painting pets.

And she is really good!

Impressed with her portfolio, I asked her for paintings of my 2 Great Danes, Bruiser and Pinky. My husband and I loved seeing our gentle giants immortalized in such a unique way.

You should definitely check out her work at Go Gray Artwork and consider getting a one-of-a-kind portrait of your pet. The prices are surprisingly affordable, starting as low as under $40 for a custom painting.

In the exclusive Q&A below, Allison opens up about her work — and her favorite part of the job.

Allison paints in a variety of styles. Which one is your favorite?

Q&A With Allison Gray

So, Allison, how did you get started with painting pet portraits?

I’ve always been an artist — I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or drawing.

When I was living in the Caribbean in the early 2010s, I began painting vintage-style maps on commission. In my spare time, I painted a few memorial pet portraits for friends. They were popular enough that I began getting commissions from other people who’d seen those portraits.

From there, the demand grew until it became a full-time job.

What’s your favorite part of the job — and the worst?

There are a lot of perks: I manage my own schedule, my only co-worker is Banjo, I get to look at pictures of cute dogs and cats, a great majority of my customers are a dream to work with (anyone with experience in customer service can appreciate that), and I get to express my creativity on a professional level daily.

One of the only drawbacks is the anxiety that comes with being a small business owner. While I’d love to spend my workday painting, that’s rarely the case.

I spend hours on correspondence, troubleshooting customers’ concerns, tracking and maintaining inventory, advertising and marketing, managing mountains of paperwork, packaging and shipping and — frustratingly enough — tracking down illegal sales of my work.

In the end, I am a one-woman show, and it’s a lot of work.

Which paintings are your favorites?

Honestly, I don’t know if I really have a favorite. After a few years of doing this, I’ve painted over 2,000 custom pet portraits — and each one is as unique as the pet who inspired it.

I can’t even say that I have a favorite color scheme! A lot of the natural color portraits are adorable because they so closely resemble the pet.

But at the same time, there’s something about a turquoise and green dog with an orange nose that makes me love the whimsy of multiple colors.

The watermark above helps Allison fight image theft online. The actual paintings do not have watermarks.
What should people know before requesting a painting?

Most of my clients enter into a conversation with me having a pretty good idea of what to expect.

If anyone has a question, just send me a message or have a look around my website. I try to make the process simple and clear.

Allison and Banjo
What’s in store for your future?

I never really know. I’m trying to work on some new digital designs (including nursery artwork) for easy print ordering. I anticipate that my business will be taking a little furlough from commissioned art this spring and part of the summer as we welcome a daughter.

Another update for Go Gray Artwork is the return of rescue/shelter fundraising. I started fundraising for nonprofit animal organizations when I first started Go Gray Artwork. I ended up sponsoring 15 different organizations from October 2015 to August 2017 and raised more than $4,500.

I had to stop for basic financial reasons — I had bills to pay, and losing 10% of my income, even for a good cause, just wasn’t possible anymore.

But this winter I will begin fundraising again, with a slightly different plan that will hopefully benefit everyone.

* * *

Please check out Allison’s artwork on her website or on Etsy! One of her gorgeous pet portraits would make a great statement on your wall — or an amazing holiday gift for a loved one. You can also find Allison on Instagram or Facebook.



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