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

Hi Newt, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
It is strange because I was raised in a family that was very against taking risks. As a kid, I never did. I always followed the rules, went with the flow, tried not to make waves. As an adult, I have learned to listen to my gut and go against the grain. That led me to go to college, to become a Veterinary Technician, and later to become an artist. I have always loved art, but always was afraid it would not be “good” or that people would not like it. Putting my art out there for the world to see was a leap of faith so to speak, because I saw other artists that had more talent, or better technique, or they had thousands of followers. I was someone no one had ever heard of, and I was putting my art out there for the world to see. It was a huge risk, because my art is a bit of my soul, and so it felt very vulnerable. I am so glad I did though!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My pet portraits are done in soft pastels on wood, then sealed to protect them. The most important part of my portraits are the eyes. I feel that the eyes are where the soul is on an animal, and since many of my subjects have passed over the Rainbow Bridge, I want to make sure to honor their spirit and soul.

I became a portrait artist quite by accident! James Smith, who I mentioned before, has a daughter who lost her dog to old age. I offered to draw a portrait for her, even though I had never done one before. And it turned out really good! From there, I decided to just learn and practice. I put out an offer for free portraits and explained I was a new artist and needed practice so there would be no charge. I am always trying to think of how I can make the world better, so the idea to message rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries occurred to me. Several pieces of my art have been auctioned off to raise money. They have also been used to memorialize pets that have passed in the shelters. Recently, I had the honor of drawing Statler, the oldest bat in captivity, shortly after he was featured in the Dodo. He passed shortly after. The portrait I did of him and his friend Chessie, who had also passed, were auctioned off and was able to provide food for all the bats at the sanctuary! Most of my portraits are done as donations, with the paid commissions being used to fund the supplies and shipping for my donation pieces. One shelter even gave my portraits to people who adopted the pet I had drawn!

The main challenge for me has always been having the time. That is time to learn and grow as an artist and the time to actually do the portraits. I try to stay fairly organized and stick to a schedule the best I can. I am always realistic in the time frame I give people. Turn over time right now is very long as I am doing portraits for those who lost pets in the Marshall Fires.

I would say that if there is one thing I would want people to know about my story it is this – always keep seeking who you are meant to be! Don`t let anyone push you into a mold that you don`t fit in! And on top of that, don`t let people make you feel that who you are is not good enough. Within every person is the ability to rise above whatever is thrown their way, they just need to find it. I don`t like to call myself a “survivor”. To me that means I am just scraping by. I have survived childhood abuse, assault as an adult, poverty, and many other things. In the end though, I am thriving!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since moving to Colorado in 2009 I honestly have not explored much, but there are a lot of places I love!

First off, I would take them to the Butterfly Pavilion. This is my home away from home. I love bugs! I keep tarantulas as pets too, and it is so fun to go there and point out all the species they have that I have owned at one point or another. I would also take them to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I adore the museum and in many ways it is my “happy place”. The Stanley Hotel would also be a must! I have not had a chance to go on one of their tours but I would love to one day. I went to visit there on my birthday and it was amazing! Estes park in general would be on my list. All the little shops and eateries and so forth just make it such a charming little town! I would also go to the Cheyanne Mountain Zoo!

As far as places to eat, there is a little cafe on Colorado Blvd. called Annies Cafe. I love it! Before I had my car I often took the bus and sometimes I would take myself out on a “date”. I would take the bus all the way into the Capitol and just kind of walk around, window shopping and popping into various stores. At the end, I would go to Annie`s Cafe. I loved the atmosphere there, and the food is great too! And of course, anyone visiting Colorado needs to go to Casa Bonita! I am not a huge fan of the food, but the atmosphere and the shows they put on it well worth it!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many wonderful people in my life who have been my personal cheerleading squad! My coworkers who have great respect for me, my soul family that adopted me when I moved to Colorado. But the biggest cheerleader for me has been my best friend and roommate, James Smith. He was blown away the first time he saw my artwork, and he has been pushing me to share it with the world ever since.

Facebook: Newt Kintsukuroi

Other: I do not as of yet have a huge social media presence, however I am available on Facebook and I can also be e-mailed at melancholynewt@gmail.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.