ARTS PROFILE: Donovan King Pettigrew answers 'Who R You?'

NAME:Donovan King Pettigrew

CRAFT:I am a full-time artist. I work primarily in stone and metal, but I also on occasion work in wood, leather, photography and graphics. I spend most of my time carving stone, and making fine jewelry. Additionally, over the last few years, my craft has included carving and cutting of gem material, which allows me total freedom in creating my jewelry and sculptural designs.

THE BEGINNINGS:I was drawing complex, perspective images at an early age, which prompted my parents to enrol me in any drafting and architectural classes that they could find. At the end of high school, I was primed to be an architect, yet I was bored by the limitations of suburban architectural designs that I saw being used in the common job market.

It was at that point I decided to enrol in the bachelors of fine arts program at TRU, which offered me the creative freedom I had longed for through my years in drafting. During my time there I specialized in painting and sculpture, even inventing a new way to paint in oils using fire to texture the image.

My love of nature and the elements has driven my passion for art-making ever since.

Through the last 15 years, I have had several individual and group exhibitions of my fire-print paintings, photographic work and sculpture, with pieces selling around North America, Europe, and Asia. Paying my own way through university as an artist was both challenging and inspiring, as I tried to build a career for myself with my creative pursuits. Near the end of my degree, I was offered a position in a busy goldsmith's shop as a repair and design assistant. From this training, my passion for working with natural elements was re-ignited, inspiring me to create fine carvings, which combine my love of metal and stonework. Since then I have moved into my own business as a speciality gift and jewelry maker.

DAYSHIFT:My dream has always been to have a family and support them from home, using my talents to make beautiful gifts for people. Now, after four years in business, I can truly say that my art is my job.

I spend most days meeting customers to design gift items and working on pieces in progress. When working with a carving, I try to get a feel from the stone as to what shape is inside it, then I make cuts and grind away everything that is excess, revealing the form within. I really want the finished materials to have a high-quality finish with every artwork, so the majority of time is spent buffing and polishing each piece to perfection. The same is also true of my jewelry work. I repair and create items for clients, which are both of high-quality and uniqueness.

IN FIVE YEARS:I see myself having at least one more solo exhibition of my sculptural work, while expanding the reputation and client base of my business. This year, I am planning to study with the Gemmological Institute of America to achieve my graduate gemmologist degree. With this title and expertise, I will be the only jewelry maker offering all three trades involved: gold/silversmithing, lapidary/gem cutting, and G.I.A.-certified appraising. Included in my business plan, is the vision of opening a gift shop in Kamloops that houses the products of as many local artists and craftspeople as possible, while also serving as my jewelry shop for repairs and custom work.

BRIGHT LIGHTS:I often have paintings and jewelry on display at The Art We Are on Victoria Street, and my work will be a part of the Kamloops Arts Council's Art In The Park festival on Canada Day at Riverside Park, with a piece included in this year's Honours Tent. An online portfolio of my work can be found at www.kamloopsgiftsmith.com, and I can be contacted by email at fulltimeartist@hotmail.com.

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