Southern Vegan Artist: Party of One?

"Food or Pet? How Do You Decide?" by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 40"w x 30"h; Sold; (c) Amy Guidry 2016
“Food or Pet? How Do You Decide?” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 40″w x 30″h; Sold; (c) Amy Guidry 2016

I’m a vegan artist living in “Sportsman’s Paradise.”  For those that don’t know, that would be Louisiana.  Not exactly a pleasant state nickname if you are a vegan.  Nevertheless, I’ve managed to live a vegan lifestyle here and have even made a niche for myself as an artist.  And I actually like living here… though I could do without the humidity.  So how is this possible, you may ask.

For starters, being a vegan, environmental artist is no harder than any other artist.  Art is supposed to make a statement, and it’s not going to be something everyone necessarily agrees with.  So the fact that my work is influenced by my personal beliefs, is not any different than any other artist creating work about what matters most to them.  And galleries are choosy about what they show regardless, so again, it doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan artist or not.

Louisiana is known for it’s food, unfortunately none of that involves tofu.  Yet.  So, yes, that is bothersome for me, but it doesn’t stop me from living here.  If anything, it just gives me more reason to keep doing what I do.  Add to that the BP oil spill, hurricanes, and wetland loss, I have even more reason to be here and speak up for our animals and our environment.

I have met some resistance, but I don’t know any vegan that hasn’t, so I wouldn’t say that’s exclusive to Louisiana.  Usually it comes from older family members that have no filter.  A lot of people seem to be coming around, while others tolerate it but don’t understand it.  I’ve been a vegan for 17 years now and have seen a definite shift in the mindset of the general population.  For starters, most people now know how to correctly pronounce vegan and might know someone that is.  A lot are open to at least trying vegan recipes.  (Everyone loves my dinner parties!)  And some are starting to become aware of the huge environmental impact that factory farming has on our planet.

Overall, I’ve had a very positive response to my art, both in and outside of Louisiana, which is promising for many reasons.  I would love to see more vegans here, but I’m sure a lot of people would say the same about where they live, too.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I do.  With every painting, I have another opportunity to reach out to the world, and inspire them to do more for animals and the planet.  And on that note, it’s time to get back to the studio.

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