Young artist raising money for animal rescue society
Grade nine student Emily Armstrong is creating digital portraits of animals for their owners at $20 for each commissioned piece.
She was looking for a way to do something meaningful in her community. The 13-year-old artist brainstormed with her mom, Marie and after some deliberation settled on a project highlighting Emily's creative skills.
"I had done work for AARCS (Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society) in the past because we did if for a school project," said Emily. "So it felt like a good starting point and then my mom brought up the commission idea and it all kind of just took off from there."
Rather than using a sketch pad, Emily is creating the portraits digitally on her phone through an app. It takes her under 20 minutes for a portrait.
"A lot of digital art, why it takes so long is because you're going through different layers and settings and all this kind of stuff," said Emily. "But I can do that without thinking because I've been doing it so often so it's very easy."
Grade nine student Emily Armstrong creates digital pet portraits on her phone to raise money for AARCS
Marie says Emily used a couple of their friend's dogs for examples and the fundraiser just exploded over night with commission requests. Many of them started coming through work colleagues from Emily's parents but more people are learning about them through social media.
"It's been family friends, friends of friends and it's usually someone at arms length," said Marie. "Then once their friends have seen it there's just a ripple effect moving through their circles."
Emily st a goal of raising $500 for AARCS (www.AARCS.ca) and reached it in just two days. Now she's looking at raising the bar to $1000. The aspiring artist even puts her own touch onto each portrait.
"Not a lot of people notice this but in all of my shading and line work and everything there's little speckles that reveal the layer below," said Emily. "So it's like a ton of different colours in one patch. I also add a water coloured background to of all mine and also the way I do eyes is different because I like to not add the colour in a full circle but just as a swish on the bottom."
Emily is managing the fundraiser on her own and provides customers with two digital images.
"I give them one with my water mark which is the one I post and then I give them one with a signature if they ever want to print it out or frame it," said Emily.
"What actually made me so proud was (Emily's) organization," said Marie. "Knowing that she was hanging on to high resolution files of each commission to email out, that she had created an email address, that she's got the subject line organized, the entrepreneurial side of it actually was very impressive to me for a 13-year-old."
AARCS executive director Deanna Thompson is happy Emily chose to help animals.
"It's so heart warming to see these young kids raising money to help animals in our community," said Thompson. "Especially during the times right now it really hits the heart and we're so appreciative."
Thompson says the society relies on public donations to help the 600 animals it's caring for.
"Medical care is our number one expense here," said Thompson. "We see everything from mange to disease and broken bones you name it so the majority of our funds go to providing medical care these animals need to get healthy so they can go up for adoption."
Marie says her daughter still has a lot of responsibilities on top of her fundraising efforts.
"She's also got her school work and she's got her personal art work that she's hoping to tackle as well," said Marie. "She's got babysitting jobs, she's a busy girl and so we're going to let her steer the ship and make sure that it is fitting with her personal goals as well."
Learn more about Emily's portraits through her Instagram account @artforaarcs