"Artists have a powerful medium for reporting on the consciousness of our current civilization and can paint visual records of the unpalatable realities of our time. The aim is to move the viewer to feel those realities and engage them in a dialogue for change." ~ AAOD
Pave two parallel pathways: cultivating compassion for animals/people, and using art as an engine for social change.
Creativity is as important as literacy, yet we are educating our youth out of their creative capacities. Picasso said- "All children are born artists." He understood that creativity cultivates original ideas that have value. The creative process connects us to what matters and what lights us up, and it helps us enjoy our lives, instead of enduring our lives.
We envision the 5500 portraits of shelter dogs in a working/interactive museum, where kids will come to create for an animal cause they are passionate about, turn their art into a product and build social campaigns to raise money and awareness for change.
Kids are the unwrapped gifts of our future, and we believe that it is critically important to put meaningful art back into schools to allow them the process of self discovery and to ignite a desire to become informed about the atrocities in society and to use their creativity to bring them into the light.
In parallel, we will continue to design products that sell around the world and raise the necessary funds to support the life saving animal welfare organizations across the nation.
"I Gave Them My All and They Gave Me Back My Life."
Mark's intention as an artist is to restore the soul of these animals who have been lost and to ensure that the others have a second chance at a beautiful life. He considers this project, his calling.
Mark's personal story of redemption includes two cherished dogs, Santina and Rudy, whose love served as the much needed catalyst that brought him back to life. Santina was 22 years old when she died, and both Mark and Marina were devastated. Marina had always been a cat lady, but upon meeting Santina, she immediately fell in love and embraced the power of dog love. So much so that she went online to adopt another dog, but instead she discovered the chilling numbers of animals being dumped and destroyed everyday. Appalled and compelled to do something about it, she persisted with Mark, until he became willing to look at the graphic evidence and consider ways he could help.
It would have been much easier for them to turn away, but a force much stronger than themselves ensured that turning away was not an option. Within two days, Mark decided he was going to paint the approximate number of dogs killed each day in shelters to illustrate the stark reality of our inhumane animal parenting and sheltering and help us to come together for compassionate solutions. Soon after, An Act of Dog was born.