Our pet sitters are supportive, loyal animal lovers who do a wonderful job caring for our clients. They are also very talented outside of the pet sitting profession! Stefanie Caro, one of our pet sitters in Brickell, is an artist who expresses herself in many mediums (check out her website, RaggidArt.com). We are so proud of her because she recently completed a gorgeous commissioned mural in Jupiter (pictured above). We have also commissioned pet portraits from her for friends and family. They were so spot-on that we wanted to share her beautiful illustrations and artwork with you, and delve into her process a bit. Read on if you’d like to get to know the process behind creating art in Miami, are curious about how to commission the perfect artistic gift, or if you’d just like to get to know her a little better!
Pet Sitter, Artist, All-Around Wonderful Human!
Stefanie is one of our most hardworking pet sitters in Brickell. It’s no coincidence that her solid work ethic permeates all layers of her life. Often times, people have the image of artists being free-spirited flakes; that’s not the case with Stefanie. “The thing about creative outlets is that they attract people who are very emotional. Some people wake up and change their minds and flake out and it’s justified on their end. But it’s not what gets you to progress. I will be there when I say I’m going to be there and work as hard as I can until I’m satisfied.”
Her latest commissioned work was a mural for DD’s Cupcake Shoppe in beautiful Jupiter. The mural took her five days to paint, working from eight in the morning to six in the evening, stopping only when the sun went down and it got too dark to see. She laughs, “The stupid perfectionist in me has to get it right. Ill get caught up in a cat’s whisker for 10 times as long as I should. I’m my own worst critic; the people I’m making things for wouldn’t be able to tell a difference between a day’s work and 5 days’ work but I’ll be able to tell the difference and that’s what bothers me. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night.” We love her work and think her persistence and perfectionism are evident in the finished product.
Becoming an Artist
Many people see such talent and wonder where artists got their start. Stefanie has been an artist as long as she has memories. “I don’t remember when I wasn’t drawing. I found this drawing I made in preschool. We were supposed to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a pencil in my hand, my hand has a thousand fingers and the pencil has this crazy curly lead that was drawing myself. It’s something involuntary to me at this point. It’s ingrained in me. It’s the most effective way that I can communicate. As I kid I was very quiet and shy and hated phones. I didn’t make a call till college. Art has always been a way for me to express myself. It’s not so much always about me. I want to say things about other things as well.”
The Meaning of Art
“I loved being a kid and growing up with stories. That needs to be continued; if not we are all lost. I get sad when I see kids with toy cell phones. What are we teaching kids? That’s not real, not life, doesn’t do anything for them. It doesn’t push them beyond boundaries- it’s not thinking, not creative, not playful.”
“Art is very important to me. It’s one of the first things as a species we used to communicate ideas to progress as society. It’s sad the way things go now that art is very commercialized and I don’t think that’s where it should be going, especially in Miami. Some people tell me to cater to what sells, then you won’t be broke all the time. I don’t want to. If I’m to create with a paycheck in mind, I might as well go dance on tables. At the end of the day they’ll both make me feel like shit.”
Stefanie’s Preferred Medium: I love ink. I love using fountain pens and quills and that mechanical stuff. I love that. Watercolor…I like it but I hate that I can’t control it like other paint, it’s a hate/ love relationship. Someone told me to try gouache and I’m working with it. Hard to find. But there’s a certain satisfaction to going to the store and trying things instead of shipping. Trying things out.”
Focus: I have a graphic novel I’ve wanted to write for years. I want to focus on writing that and organizing it. I’m not the best writer; I’m trying to talk to a few of my friends who have experience with writing graphic novel steps to produce and market it. Right now I’m hiding away from the scene taking time off to do some research how to get this thing started.
The Artist’s Influences: I used to be a big Disney dork; growing up reading fairy tale books and illustrated children’s books I was always really interested in animation and wanted to be an animator for a long, long time or illustrate a story. So I think that artwork is a lot more interesting when there is something behind it instead of ‘I had an impulse and I picked up a paint brush.’ It’s cool but I can’t relate to that as much as something with a background…I’m influenced by nature, animals, the organic world, cells and bacteria and insects, and things that live inside other things. I love all that nonsense.”
Our local artists are a positive force in Miami’s development as a cultural center. Stefanie is an important, versatile member of this movement, mastering illustration, murals, digital work, and photography. We’ll show you her wonderful pet portraits and delve into her passions in our next blog post.
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.