Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Art for Change –by Artist BZTAT (AKA Vicki Boatright) #BtC4A


FROM CAT CHAT: Today  we are once again proud to participate in the annual:

Click here to visit Blog the Change
event that many bloggers around the blog-o-sphere are participating in. We are honored and proud to feature Artist BZTAT aka Vicki Boatright, a gifted artist who acts tirelessly on animals' behalf. We hope you enjoy her guest post!

 Art for Change –by Artist BZTAT

"Juniper"
Artwork by BZTAT
When I graduated with a Master's Degree in Visual Art back in 1985, I was bold with color, but I was pretty timid with life. It did not take me long to realize that, despite my talents, I did not have the business acumen to make a living as an artist. At that time, there were not many ways for artists to survive solely from the sales of their art, so most did other things for a living. I realized fast that making art your top priority in life required significant sacrifice.

Although creating art was very important to me, it did not seem like it served an "essential" purpose in life for me, certainly not enough to justify living in poverty and doing meaningless jobs to support it.

So I went back to school and earned another Master's Degree - this one in Counseling. I spent the next 20 years counseling children and families coping with trauma. I often joke that I went from being a starving artist to being a starving therapist, as counseling was not a very lucrative profession either. But it seemed to serve a more "essential" purpose for me. 

Many years later, things have come full circle for me. My art has become my top priority, and I am no longer working as a counselor. The disarray of the mental health system made it increasingly difficult for me to help people, and it no longer served an "essential" purpose for me. I grew tired of confronting life and death circumstances in people's lives with diminished resources for making a difference. Changes were needed in the system designed to make change for people in distress, and they simply were not happening.

Although it was not my career focus, I continued to create art throughout the years that I worked as a therapist. The art of my young clients had a huge influence on my own work. Three things that children often included in their art were also important to me: bright colors, simplified shapes, and animals.

I now am working as a full time artist, and strangely, it now does serve an "essential" purpose for me.

I paint custom pet portraits  for people who share my love of pets, often providing a healing experience for individuals who have lost a cherished companion. My involvement in a worldwide pet community has led to close connections with rock stars in the animal rescue movement. And I have been able to use my art to advocate for change and promote awareness of important issues.


"Safe Animals Safe Kids" Mural
Artwork by BZTAT
My new passion blends the two "essential" tracks of my life. My Okey's Promise Art for a Change program  uses artwork to raise awareness about the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence - issues I often encountered while working as a counselor with children. Research has shown that the connections are deeply intertwined, yet there is not a widespread effort to combine intervention efforts for children or animals.

Through large public art projects, I seek to highlight the need to increase awareness and combine intervention efforts, so that we can better serve people and animals. I have been blessed to have many "Okey's Promise Keepers" who have contributed funding to make the projects possible. I am currently raising funds for my third project , which will be a mural on a building in Barberton, OH.
proposed sketch for Barberton, OH mural
Artwork by BZTAT

Whether we do it in our careers or whether we do it as a side passion, the need to work for change in our world rests in the hearts of many. I am not unique with that. I do feel incredibly thankful for having the knowledge, skills and talent to bring forth works of art that inspire others, even though it does require considerable sacrifice. 

Everyone has something they can do to work towards change. What is your gift, and how will you use it to bring about positive change to your world?

You can learn more about Okey's Promise Art for a Cause and how you can become an Okey's Promise Keeper here . You can see more BZTAT artwork here .



51 comments:

  1. Caren - I am thrilled that you featured Bztat in Blog the Change post. She is one of the very first people I met on Twitter, and I took my daughter to her studio in Canton several years ago. I have always loved the concept of Okey's Promise, and I wish her the best in her fundraising efforts for her latest installment. Great post!

    Vicki Cook
    Team BTC

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    1. Vicki thank you! I am honored to have featured Bztat! How lucky you are to have visited her studio...I need to put that on my "bucket list" for the next time I visit Ohio (which is my home...) I would LOVE to see her studio. You know how talented she is and how caring! I can't take credit for the post, she wrote it!

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  2. I have always been impressed with BzTat's artwork, and the GOOD work she does with her art!

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  3. Cool art work by Bztat. We love it. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  4. Your paintings are fantastic! It is funny the paths life takes. I spend my days helping individuals and families with autism. I think this is my gift for at least this phase of my life.

    Happy Painting!

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  5. What a great post! Love Bztat's work - artistically and personally. Thanks for featuring her - otherwise I would not have known of her style and mission.

    Pam

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  6. Such a great story (and message)! Love her use of vivid colors and clean style--so striking, and so affecting.

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  7. Interesting. Great artwork
    Benny & Lily

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  8. What a great story! I like that you let her tell it herself! I hope she has success with her new mural.

    Christie from lifewithbeagle.com

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    1. Thanks Christie! When I feature people I prefer to let THEM write the posts about themselves, who knows better about them than THEY do? I like to let the experts do the talking. Thanks for appreciating that. Have a great day!

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  9. Oh Caren, Me LOVES Bizat's work! Mommy loves the philospophy of color and how it affects and effects living things!
    What a great blog for change!
    Kisses
    Nellie

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  10. This was fun hearing more about Bztat's work. I had seen the name around but didn't know much about her. She sure does do good work and this post was terrific.

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  11. She is such a wonderful talent and we are so thrilled that we have met her in purrson!

    Please stop by and wish Dante a Happy 11th Birthday.

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    1. Hi Brian! We did wish Dante a Happy Birthday...before you wrote this :)

      xoxoxo But thanks in case we hadn't!

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  12. Cool!!! BZTAT sounds like our kind of hoomans! Wish she's somewhere near us though. purrr....meow!

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  13. Thanks for all the great comments! It is gratifying to have people enjoy my work and to appreciate the causes I use my art to promote. Please stop by my studio if you are ever in Canton, OH, or join me in my virtual studio every day on Facebook and Twitter!

    And thanks Caren for featuring me here. What a wonderful community you have here!

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    1. One of these days I am going to visit your studio if it kills me!! I would be thrilled!
      You are most welcome, I am thrilled and honored to have you and thank you for allowing me to feature you here!
      Yes, I am blessed with some wonderful readers. They all mean the world to me!

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    2. I would love to have you visit Caren! Just say when!

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  14. Since our mommy works for Hallmark, she gets to see our artists volunteer to install public art in places such as the local children's hospital - and local shelters. We LOVE BZTAT's work - just bought another drawing in fact (score!). Wouldn't it be great if other places across the U.S. such as children's hospitals, battered women shelters and animal shelters would find the funding/donations to install public art from BZTAT?

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    1. I do have pieces at the Akron Children's Hospital, guys! I once had the opportunity to work on site there, and was amazed at how healing and cheerful the environment there was. I would love to do more public art, and would love to have it all over the country. That is high up on my bucket list. Thx to your mom for being such a wonderful collector and supporter of my work!

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  15. I always enjoy learning the history of my blogging friends and this guest post by BZTAT was wonderful. Isn't it amazing the journey that we are on - we start with one intention, go down another path, then find ourselves back full circle to what was our passion to begin with!! This was great - thanks for sharing this today, Caren and Cody.

    Purrs from the Zee/Zoey gang

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    1. Deb I LOVE how you stated that. So true!! You are most welcome and I thank you for reading and I thank BZTAT for agreeing to be our guest today!

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    2. Sometimes, Deb, I think it was all one path, taking me on a journey where I collected experiences that all came together for a purpose. I cannot wait to see what is ahead on the journey!

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  16. This is a great post!xx Speedy and mum

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  17. Wonderful post for Blog the Change! Beautiful art and great mission!

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  18. Great post and interesting to hear about the work BZTAT does. I didn't know much before and it's wonderful to hear more.

    Oink oink,
    Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

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  19. Beautiful artwork! Thanks for the intro to Bztat. It's so important to figure out what our gifts are and how we can "do good" with them! Great post.

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    1. you are so right Jackie! thank you for taking the time to read the post!

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  20. I love BZTAT's art and I'm so glad she's working at it full-time and happy about it. Her murals are so awesome, I just can't begin to imagine how much work goes into them and they make the area they are in so much nicer. I wish her all the best with her latest project. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.

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    1. Yes she IS amazing!! Be sure to stop by tomorrow...you have a surprise!!

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  21. BZTAT does such incredible work, thank you for sharing this with us on Blog the Change!

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    1. you are most welcome!! Be sure to stop by tomorrow...you have a surprise!!

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  22. BrewskieButt was one of my first furrends on Twitter and through him learned of BZTAT's art. I wish her all the success in the world.

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  23. So interesting to read about BZTAT's work and life. Her style is one I adore. Thank you for introducing us to this artist, Caren xx

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  24. We've seen BZTAT's artwork...and we love it!!

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  25. We're late to the blog hop but just added our post badge. We love BZTat's bold and colorful art.

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  26. Such a great story...we love BZTAT's art. We love her bold use of color, we love the clean and modernistic lines. ...and we love that she uses it to make the world a better place.
    xo, Katie & Glogirly

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  27. What beautiful art work! Just wonderful.
    Thanks for coming over to help me celebrate my birthday and making my day extra special. Hope you had a good time.

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    1. hi Gracie!! Yes BZTAT's artwork is fabulous! you are most welcome!! Love your avi! Your party was sooo much fun and we hope you had a great birthday!! Love, Cody and Caren

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  28. BzTat's work is terrific! And we absolutely love that she uses her talents for good. :)

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  29. BZTAT's path makes purrfect sense to me, and I'm sure it's the past experiences which help to make her a better (the best) artist she now is within the realms she works.

    What wonderful work, and what support for animals.

    Thank you for blogging the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    btc4animals.com
    cindylusmuse.blogspot.com

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  30. Such a wonderful post Caren. What gorgeous art she does and wonderful work.

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  31. Wonderful post! Such a great artist.

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  32. Bztat's work and goals are inspiring and I don't think you could have chosen a better individual to feature! The welfare of animals and humans are intrinsically linked. I've heard the argument many times from people who say they prefer to support organizations that help humans, not just animals. But it isn't an either/or scenario.

    Thank you for participating in Blog the Change for Animals once more with your well-written feature!

    Kristine
    Team BTC

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  33. How wonderful! My husband enjoys working with pencil and we've donate a custom portrait for auction at rescue that was a big success. That you can make an impact in a large scale is impressive.

    PoochieProject.com

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  34. Great choice for Blog the Change - I love BZTAT!

    A.J.
    Team BtC4A

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