Friday, November 14, 2014

My refusal to participate in the violence of Thanksgiving

I'm going to depart from my usual blog posts of announcing my art events, because what's on my mind are the 45 million turkeys who have been raised in horrifying conditions and killed in even more horrifying conditions so that Americans can participate in the Thanksgiving ritual. I wish so much that people would wake up and realize the hidden violence behind the societal requirement to eat the body of a tortured turkey in celebration of this holiday.

The dead turkeys that will be on most American holiday tables on November 27th were babies who never saw the light of day, who lived in conditions that, were dogs and cats subjected to them, would be illegal. And yes, this is true of free-range turkey "farms" as well as factory farms.

Like other birds, turkeys have no protection under the Animal Welfare Act or the Humane Slaughter Act. A single slaughterhouse can kill 360 birds per minute, or 518,000 in 24 hours ( Think about it, and let the reality of what that means penetrate you emotionally.

I haven't eaten a turkey since 1980, and I'm just fine. The best nutritional science tells us that humans have no need for animal protein. Really, it is okay to go against society's expectations, especially when those expectations require participation in a violent system. Non-violence begins with the fork.

"The Cruelest Holiday" (c) 2013 Michelle Waters

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vegan art calendar to benefit Hillside Animal Sanctuary!

Hello, and happy Fall! I'm really proud to be a contributing artist to the 2015 vegan art calendar sold to benefit Hillside Animal Sanctuary in England. This is a collaborative project involving 12 different artists from around the world, which was coordinated by artist Leigh Sanders of Spain. To purchase calendars, please visit the website. Below is my piece that I did for the calendar:

"May All Beings Be Free" - (c) 2014 Michelle Waters
acrylic on paper

Here is my statement about my piece:
"I was spurred to become a vegan animal liberation activist because of my connection with my companion animals. I realized that farmed animals have as much love, and as much an inherent right to live their lives unharmed as the animals I share my home with. I painted 'Free From Suffering' to show that when it comes to suffering, a dog is a chicken is a pig is a person. We all feel pain."

Monday, September 15, 2014

September - October art shows

I have work in 2 group shows right now. The first is "Pets, Beasts and Dinner: Relations Between Human and Animal Creatures" at Gallery Bergen in Paramus, New Jersey. I'm really happy that my more political work about animals is being seen. The more sets of eyeballs that are exposed to the reality of what non-human animals go through, the better. Below is the show flyer, and the three paintings I have in the show.

"Love One, Kill the Other" - (c) 2013 Michelle Waters

"Smarter Than Your Dog" - (c) 2013 Michelle Waters

"The Right to Arm Bears" - (c) 2005 Michelle Waters

The second group show I'm in is a frog-themed exhibit at Cactus Gallery in Los Angeles. This show will be up through September. Here's a link to all of the pieces in the show, and below is my piece (a toad, not a frog).

"Toadally Spellbound" - (c) 2013 Michelle Waters

Last but not least, I'm one of the featured artists at this year's Luna Park Chalk Art Fest in San Jose, CA, which is this coming Saturday, September 20th. This is a great annual event that raises money for art in the public schools. For more information, please visit

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Custom animal portraits to benefit Hen Harbor sanctuary

Hey - do you have an animal friend that you've always wanted a portrait of? I'm helping with a fundraiser to save Apples, one of the rescued hens at Hen Harbor, a 501(c )(3) non-profit animal sanctuary in the Santa Cruz mountains. For a $200 donation, I will paint an 8 x 10 portrait of your companion animal. And for a $100 donation, I'll paint a 5 x 7 mini-portrait of your animal.

Apples the hen was rescued from a battery-cage factory farm in June 2013. She is dying from an impacted oviduct, a condition that is a directly attributable to the factory-farming industry: Being bred to lay so many eggs in such a short amount of time destroys the oviducts of industry hens after only a few years.

 Here's more info:

 Here are some examples of my animal portraits:

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer shows

I have work in a couple of group shows right now. "Song of the Birds" is Cactus Gallery's annual bird-themed show, which is up now and runs through July 31st, 2014. For purchase information, please contact Sandra Mastroianni at Below are my pieces in the show:

"Sacred Heron" (c) 2014 Michelle Waters - 5 x 7

"Death and Rebirth" (c) 2012 Michelle Waters - 8 x 10

"Cardinal Sinners" (c) 2012 Michelle Waters - 10 x 10

I also have one of my animal liberation paintings from last year's solo show in "Disconnect", a group show sponsored by the Northern California Women's Caucus for Art at Transmission Gallery in Oakland. This show is up through July 19th. The piece the curators chose for the show is below. I'm really happy for the chance to have my more confrontational work shown, as most galleries shy away from activist subject matter.

"Terror" (c) 2013 Michelle Waters - 24 x 18

Friday, June 13, 2014

Extinction Saints series

It's been a few months since I've posted here, and I really have no excuse except for laziness. I've started a new series of small paintings of animals who are going extinct because of human greed. They will be small paintings (9 x 12 or 10 x 10) which suits me these days as I can complete paintings more quickly, and they are easier to ship than big pieces. The first two in the series are below:

"Killing the People of the Forest" - (c) 2014 Michelle Waters
The situation with palm oil cultivation in Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia is more and more dire for the animals of the area who are losing habitat quickly. Orangutans, Sumatran tigers, rhinoceros and pygmy elephants are just a few species whose populations are crashing due to palm oil mania. Palm oil is ubiquitous and in everything from snack foods to laundry detergent and nutritional supplements. To understand more about the palm oil crisis, please visit

"One Every 15 Minutes" (c) 2014 Michelle Waters
African elephants will be extinct in the wild within 10 years if the global ivory trade is not shut down. The U.S. is the second largest market for ivory sales, after China. Ivory is for sale in Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. I've seen it myself. Today, 100 elephants will be killed by semi-automatic weapons, spears, traps and poisoning. Their tusks will be hacked off and sent to Chinese carving factories. A burgeoning Chinese upper class has fueled the slaughter in recent years. Many of the poachers have ties to terrorist organizations, and many, many wildlife rangers have also been killed defending elephants and rhinos. To find out what grassroots groups on the ground in Africa are doing to address the crisis, please visit Elephant Aware Masai Mara  and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, both in Kenya.

Satao, Kenya's biggest elephant, was killed by poachers in the last few days. Read more...