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The artist and her loyal German Shepherd, Truda.
Alicia Banks of Texarkana, Texas sees pets in a whole new light. Bright, bold, vibrant colors make pets come alive in her unique pop art pieces custom-made for pet owners. Working under the name AB Pop Art, Alicia creates art that not only memorializes treasured pets, but turns them into models for kitschy and fun art that will liven up any decor. Ms. Banks was kind enough to grant Mad About Pets an interview about AB Pop Art, and offer some insight into her creative process.

(Mad About Pets) Why are pets your preferred subjects (versus other subject matter?)

(Alicia Banks) I choose to paint pets over any other subjects because I have always loved animals, dogs in particular. Before I started selling my artwork all I would sketch and paint were animals. Growing up I would always bring home abandoned animals or animals that needed to find a good home (dogs, pot belly pigs, a turkey named Lucky Tom, turtles and so on.) I also worked as a vet tech and I have been a groomer for the past 7 years, so I have always worked with or around animals my whole life. Why not paint something you absolutely adore?

I see that you paint with watercolors. Why is that your preferred medium?

"The Gang"
The reason I chose watercolors as my medium is because they are easy to blend. Everyone always asks me why not use acrylic; honestly, I have never worked with acrylic. If you were to look at my paintings you would never even know they were watercolor paint, they look exactly like acrylic because I paint the colors on so thick.

Do you have a favorite type of animal to paint?

My favorite type of animal are dogs, I have never owned a cat but I do enjoy painting them as well. My favorite breeds to paint are German Shepherds, Great Danes and English Bulldogs.

Your paintings are very bright and bold. Is there an artist whose style you most admire, or who has influenced your work? 

I have always admired Andy Warhol-- his bold and vibrant colors always put me in a happy mood. Another artist that I admire is George Rodrigue. Even though he only paints the same "blue dog", he uses a ton of colors like me. I actually follow his wife Wendy Rodrigue's blogs and soak up every bit of what she writes about him.

Do you have any pets of your own? If so, how do they inspire you?

I own a German Shepherd named "Truda"; she is a little over a year old and has been by my side from day one. She is a big part of my life and my inspiration. I have painted a few pieces that she is included in, one being "The Gang" which features a German Shepherd in the middle, a Rottweiler to the right, Pit Bull to the left and an English Bulldog in the lower bottom of the painting. I was inspired to create this painting because when my husband and I were searching for places to live here in Texarkana, every place had a breed restriction list. These four breeds were usually on every list! It actually made me more upset than anything, so I created in my own mind that these were the coolest breeds. Yet they were banned from everywhere! That's how "The Gang" was thought up . I even added sunglasses on them to make them look even cooler.

Is there a painting of yours that you are particularly proud of?

I am really proud of all of my work because every painting that I paint has a story, but one in particular would be a baby Pug that I painted for a friend of mine named Karen. She worked with my mother for several years and had one of the biggest smiles that would literally light up a room. Karen was very ill from fighting lung cancer and asked my mother if I would paint her sister's dog for her. I was thrilled to do this for her. I finished the painting and by the time it got there, Karen had already lost her battle. But I know that it will always be treasured by Karen's sister and her family.

If you are interested in a piece from AB Pop Art or would like to see more of Alicia's work, please check out the website and Facebook page for examples, pricing and contact information. 

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