We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Mallen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andy, what do you attribute your success to?
I would have to say that my overall love of animals is the most important factor for me. I love animals, art and cultural travel in equal parts. Until 2010, I’d never done artwork myself. However, my mother was an artist and I spent over 30 years in advertising and marketing working closely, hands-on with various creative teams and understanding how to convey a deep-rooted meaning behind a logo or any marketing message. Most artists do not have a major business background, so that helped me design and develop my brand, Canvas Canines. I had business cards, brochures and displays for use in silent auctions that benefited animal rescue organizations. Little by little I achieved “referral power” through these events and so my business developed and grew.
Understanding and relating to my customers and their love for their pets became my m.o. – I could totally relate to all of them. And, per many testimonials, it shows in the end result. A painting that they can cherish forever. If the passion for your core subject isn’t obvious, I think it would be difficult to be successful. The care, love and compassion for fellow pet owners and the animals is a must.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It has been an interesting ride. When the market crashed in 2008/09 I became one of the many Americans who lost their job. I spent months interviewing at other companies – really for jobs I’d performed 15 – 20 years earlier – and nobody believed I wanted the job. Not enough “fire in my belly” – well, okay, I’d already done all this kind of work 1000 times over! I even looked into buying a franchise business. When I took a couple of art classes and then entered a silent auction for an event at The Dumb Friends League (shelter), I realized how much I loved making art; and, I received so much affirmation and referral activity from the silent auctions that I decided to jump in and create my business – Canvas Canines.
Networking in the art community was a great experience – going to all the shows, meeting accomplished artists, entering art shows all over town and getting into the many art fairs in the Denver area – all of it helped me create what is a very strong personal artist community and network.
While I never had my own business, I’d certainly helped put business plans and strategies together for my clients – so I had a good head start in defining my own. It forced me to learn more about websites and social media, advertising and the importance of word-of-mouth activity.
My brand is all about my love of the animals – dogs, cats, birds, goats, llamas – you name it. The big lesson is that you don’t really know your success until you recognize your passion for the subject and allow yourself to be consumed by it with utter joy. My art is forever a work in progress and the beauty of all that is that I don’t know for sure where it will take me – it’s the adventure of it all.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, no surprise, the Denver Art Museum is at the top of the list – a real destination site for many – followed with a walk around the city. Rino, the art district to the north of the downtown area is another great place to get the flavor of the city, with wonderful graffiti walls and galleries.
LoDo, the area just across I-25 and Speer Blvd. is a hot area for walking around and great dining options.
Red Rocks is a must for anyone who likes almost any music.
I often take friends up to Vail for a day trip and walk along the river and dine at one of the many restaurants.
Cherry Creek has great shops up and down the streets north of the mall. And great restaurants,
And if my friend comes in the summer, there are lots of art fairs that celebrate some of Denver’s best artists.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I always say that I must have gotten a stray gene from my mom, as she was a really terrific artist. When I decided to create my business of custom pet paintings, I started taking classes all over Denver. I had several really great teachers, whom I think of every time I pick up a paintbrush! A few years into my art and I started working with a local artist in Denver, Michael Dowling, who is very accomplished in his own right, I have been working with him for roughly 6 years and always learn something new. He is my teacher, my mentor and all-around great creative resource. When I have sessions with him we are able to play off each other with concepts and new ideas for artistic series or even just in picking a color palette. I have worked with Michael the longest and he continues to teach me a lot about me as an artist, my style and my approach to painting. Everyone needs a Michael!

Website: www.canvascanines.com

Instagram: andymallen6253

Twitter: @globalmallen

Facebook: canvascanines@facebook.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.