South Florida artist Skip Hartzell is known locally as “the dog artist”. He is a longtime supporter of no-kill animal rescues and donates proceeds from the sale of his artworks to animal-rescue, no kill shelters. The artist creates large oil paintings, works on paper and four-legged sculptures inspired by man’s best friend.
His inspiration comes in the form of a morning walk, accompanied by a furry friend. The canine-inspired artworks that he creates are figments of his artistic imagination and creative vision. Hartzell creates directly from his emotions and instincts, his work is inspired by dogs of all shapes, sizes and varieties.
Hartzell’s art studio is crawling with canine-based works. Whether he’s painting or sculpting, Hartzell’s dogs have a wonderful quality of friendliness about them, and it’s hard to keep yourself from reaching out to touch. And that’s perfectly okay with Hartzell. He’s never been one to place a rope around his artwork.
“The texture is so important because the tactile experience of sculpture is so primal for me,” he says. “You grab with your hands and just start to mush things together and get your fingers on the materials, and there is just such a richness to the feel.” He says whenever he’s doing a show, he is quick to hand his sculptures to the patrons so they can enjoy the feeling, too. And whether it’s paint on canvas or sculpture, the texture is one of the most captivating and inviting parts of experiencing his artwork. Hartzell may not set out to mimic the look of someone’s beloved pet, but he says his sculptures and paintings often evoke a fond memory of a furry family member.
“If you love dogs, you are going to love Skip Hartzell’s soulful pieces. His work is representative of caricature features of dogs,” said J. Marshall Adams, the executive director of the A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce where Hartzell has held exhibitions.
“When you walk into Skip Hartzell’s studio you are greeted by hundreds of dogs in all shapes, sizes, textures and colors. There are dogs on the wall that create an intriguing color field installation. There are medium size dogs standing or sitting and hanging all over the place. And his large dogs just ask to be hugged,” said Rickie Leiter, Publisher of The Rickie Report.
“Although I love dogs, my art is about much more, it is about form, movement and mostly about the painterly expression and texture of the surface,” Hartzell says. The artist has held numerous solo exhibitions at notable art galleries and prestigious art fairs such as Art Palm Beach, A.E. Backus Museum, ArtHouse 429, Paul Fisher Gallery, Aqua Art Fair during Art Basel Miami Beach and many more.