We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlin Epstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlin, is there something you believe many others might not?
“Stick to what you know”. I could not disagree more. I would never have become a painter if I had listened to this advice. I created my first true painting my senior year of high school, and was immediately sucked in. Since then, I have loved creating paintings for clients while also diving into as many new art mediums as possible. I have dabbled in makeup artistry, interning for a makeup artist despite only wearing makeup myself for occasions as special as a wedding. I swiped my mom’s camera to delve into photography, and ended up capturing images around the world as a student photographer for my university. I spent a semester learning the tedious yet fascinating art of letterpress in Florence, falling in love with fonts and gelato at the same time. Most recently, I accepted a summer position at a glass art studio, where I am learning how to manage a gallery space while also picking up some blown glass skills. I consider myself a lifelong student, and sticking with what I know has never been my forte.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a painter and an art researcher. When I am not at school, I create custom pet portraits for clients across the US and the world. I painted a friend’s dog my senior year of high school, and since then I have painted dozens of dogs and cats, as well as some birds, horses, and even a chinchilla. I create portraits on canvases ranging in size from 3 inches by 3 inches to 3 feet by 4 feet, ornaments, mugs, and most recently, wine glasses. It is both my therapy and my livelihood to sit at my paint covered desk and create paintings that capture the personality of a beloved pet.
In the few years that I have been painting, the greatest lesson I’ve learned – and am still learning, honestly – is not to undersell myself. My time, my talents, and my skills are worth something, and I’ve learned that I need to confidently charge what I’m worth.
As a researcher, I work to promote arts-based methods for social change. While living in Costa Rica, I researched the impact of positive media on marginalized communities while working with a positive media organization in San Jose. For my undergraduate thesis, I explored how arts-based organizations in the US adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to continue to serve their communities while working with an Indigenous-led magazine based in Northern California. This Fall, I will be attending the University of Sussex to pursue a masters degree in Media Practice for Development and Social Change. Art has changed my life so incredibly for the better, and I hope to continue to discover the concrete ways in which art can be used to improve the lives of others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a Charlotte native, spent the past few years outside of the US getting my bachelor’s degree, and when I moved back to the US it was because there was a global pandemic going on. Soooo, I’ve done embarrassingly little in Atlanta besides hanging out with family (I’ve got family in Woodstock with 2 golden retrievers if anyone needs some dog time), but if I had a week with a friend in the city I’d spend it being an absolute tourist. I’d drag my friend around to the big sites like the aquarium and to catch a Braves game. I’d also love to walk the Beltline and Little Points hunting down great street art. Getting outside is also a must, so in the city we could stroll around the botanical garden and Centennial Park, and take a trip out of the city for some hikes and waterfalls in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I can attribute my success to my parents, my classmates who inspire me on a regular basis, and my high school art teacher, Ms.G, who inspired an overly serious nerd to consider creative pursuits, too.
I’d also like to shoutout the Global College of Long Island University for all of the incredible experiences I had around the world that allowed me to discover how to combine my passions for art and social change.
Instagram: @pawfectlypaintedpets, @caitlinepstein