Art Attack - Paul Boddum
Toronto artist Paul Boddum credits an assertive friend for dragging him to a local pet show and forever changing the course of his career, eventually launching his foray into pet portraiture. The inspiring personalities and energy that the dogs exuded at the show were the catalysts in his ultimate transition from early-childhood education daycare teacher to professional pet artist. Although the shift into his full-time creative life transpired in recent years, Boddum has been painting dog portraits part time for over 20 years.
“I was more and more drawn to spending my days in the studio making art,” states Boddum. “It was one of those work/life balance issues.”
It’s likely that being adopted himself has sparked Boddum’s insight into the connection that his clients have to their pets, especially to those that have been rescued. “I didn’t realize until much later that maybe that (connection) had something to do with my choice of subject.”
Aside from studying visual arts at York University for one year, Boddum is mainly a self-taught artist. He describes himself as a figurative painter who uses a contemporary mix of both representational and abstract elements. The portraits vary greatly, but one aspect that remains consistent is his treatment of the background not as an area of focus in the painting, but instead as an extension of the animal.
Each commissioned piece is a collaborative and interactive process that begins with a consultation to get a sense of the relationship between the client and his or her pet. Boddum hopes to convey the meaning that the animal brings to his clients’ lives and the distinct personality of each dog, whether it’s expressed by the colour, look, or stance captured within the portrait.
“I try to take the idea of the pet right out of it, and just look for the soul and their inner beauty,” he says.
In the end, Boddum hopes that when the owner gazes upon the painting, they feel reflected back to them the connection they have with—as he puts it: “that animal, their pet, their family member.” Commissions start at $850, paulboddum.com.