We had the good fortune of connecting with Aimée Hoover and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aimée, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
It’s the least sexy, most obvious answer ever, but never actually quitting is the secret sauce for succeeding. Aside from normal human day-dreaming moments when I think the grass must be greener in another career (“maybe I should go help raise orphaned wombats in Australia…”), I only came close to seriously quitting art all together once. And that was sheerly because I allowed myself to get completely burned out doing something I loved to do. Not quitting at that particular time—and instead attempting to find the joy again in what I was doing—was a turning point for me. So many people have creative talent—way more than me—but I find that determination and persistence are almost more important in the long run. You can be massively talented and not get anywhere because you call it quits. But committing to being determined and persistent creates the space to get better over time, and will carry your posterior to the studio when inspiration ebbs and any given day,
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been obsessed with animals my whole life, and have been sketching them since I was a kid. I remember being dragged to my parents’ friends’ “boring” parties growing up. And when they couldn’t find me, all they had to do was locate the family dog, and there I’d be! Petting him within an inch of his life while trying to memorize his face to draw later. Neither of these two loves of mine—art and animals—have waned since I was quite young. So in the background of every odd job in high school, and every period of time in between jobs after college, animals and art were always a part of my life. But it didn’t even occur to me that I could combine professionally as a painter until 1999, when I became a pet portrait artist. I had stumbled on a niche that seemed right up my alley, and was relatively new at the time. Then in 2012, hundreds of dog portraits later, I made the decision to expand my subject matter, and starting exploring the entire animal kingdom. Which is where I still find an unending source of inspiration today. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply want to put beauty out into the world. Almost as a balm to all the turmoil, especially right now. And depicting animals allows me to do that in a deeper way. Whether that’s depicting the grace of sinewy borzoi, the earthiness of a massive Scottish Highland cow, or the cheekiness of a monkey.
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.
To be honest, I’m an introvert so I don’t roll out the personal tour bus that often! But on special occasions with faraway friends visiting, I think the best way to really explore a neighborhood is on foot, aka urban hiking. It’s how I love to check out a new city when I’m traveling, and how I like to introduce visitors to my own neighborhood. Downtown Redondo Beach started to really become a great Sunday brunch spot in 2019/2020. And it’s just a block away from the water (and strangely, there’s plenty of parking), so the location is fantastic. Grabbing brunch to go downtown, then walking down to the beach to sit on the Esplanade and watch the dolphins while enjoying your breakfast tacos is about as SoCal as it gets. From there, you can kick off your shoes and hike up the beach into the Palos Verdes cliffs for another great view looking back at Redondo. And on the way back, you might as well grab a beer at King Harbor Brewing because you’re bound to be thirsty after that trek. There’s also lots of little cafes, shops and unique stores to do some window shopping, or grab a little Redondo memento to take back home.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Scott Malmquist, my husband. Despite being inundated with my work for 20 years, he remains unjaded. He’s my biggest fan, my constant cheerleader, my sounding board, and occasional heavy studio furniture mover. I would not be where I am today without his love and support. I also have the most kind, thoughtful and enthusiastic collectors an artist could ever have. Their support has allowed me the privilege of being a working artist in the world for as long as I have, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.