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Artist of the Week: Kim McCarthy

An artist who specializes in pet portraits??? OF COURSE we had to profile! Everyone, meet Kim McCarthy of Urban Soule. (Image: Urban Soule)

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists and today marks the first weekly artist feature on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

An artist who specializes in pet portraits??? OF COURSE we had to profile! Everyone, meet Kim McCarthy of Urban Soule.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
Urban Soule: I've been creating a since I was a child, I used to spend hours drawing and painting in my room, it was like a secret getaway for me, but I really got serious about it in the last 15 years, now I have my own art business and do it full time!

Do you work with other mediums?
I always like to experiment with new mediums and learn new techniques.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I start out with photographing the image I'm going to paint, I then make multiple paper copies of it and hand cut out pieces for each layer using an Exacto knife. Then the image is spray painted on the backgrounds that I have painted, using a mix of Acrylics, Inks, various gels, and pastes.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I would say my inspiration mainly comes from Mother Nature, I love to paint animals, flowers, and plants - I want to bring awareness to environmental issues such as wildlife poaching, illegal animal trade, climate change and exploitation of natural resources resulting in Habitat Destruction.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
My favorite to paint is custom pet portraits, I make a lot of custom paintings but pets are by far the most fun, it's very personal to the owner and I love capturing the character of each animal. I've painted bunnies, cats, dogs, horses and even pet fish! The zoo animals are always fun too, trying to capture the perfect photo is always a challenge, I love when I have an art show or am at a festival and a zookeeper comes by and recognizes their animal.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I would have to say that all the pet portraits I've done are special to me; hearing the stories of animals, most are happy but some are tragic and heartbreaking, being able to give the owner something special makes me happy. The other is a portrait I painted for my Dad as a gift, it's from a photobooth photo from 1977-78 of him and me, I was about 3-years-old. He has it hanging in his bedroom so he can see it every day.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I grew up surrounded by farms and forests in Eastern Washington, moved to the Oregon Coast and now live in Seattle. Having experienced all the various environments and cultures has had the greatest impact on me - I like to mix it all together creating a unity between traditional and contemporary portraits.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
On my website and lots of behind the scenes and personal life photos on Instagram @urbansoule.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I have a few interior designers and architects that I'm currently working with on some upcoming custom projects, and I'm working on a book cover for a friend's novel, a few pet portraits lined up and some upcoming photo shoots at the zoo!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee?
Peppermint, White Chocolate Mocha, with whip!

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