Jeff Haynie, of Kitsap County, Wash., spent most of his life not liking cats. That was until his sister-in-law gave him and his wife a kitten. The fuzzy little cat, Miss Joshua, fell asleep in Haynie’s beard the first night, and he fell in love.
Five cats later, Haynie declares himself an officially a cat guy, and his beautiful art shows it. “I’m a crazy cat guy now,” Haynie says. “I used to be an avid fisherman, and now our cats play with the lures.”
Haynie makes multimedia art. Some of his paintings are digitally made on a computer, while other pieces of art, such as his Kitty Kans, are made from upcycling his cats’ food cans, along with polymer clay, iridescent embellishments and copper wires (for the whiskers, of course).
“It was the cats,” Haynie tells the Bremerton Patriot. “They kept looking at me when I was throwing those cans away.” All of his Kitty Kans evolved from his paintings.
After college, Haynie opened Green Acres Studio, a full-service illustration studio. He created illustrations for many prominent companies, including American Airlines, Disney, Frito-Lay, Xerox and Bic Pens. One of the big signposts in his career was an opportunity to work at DreamWorks Animation. He also taught illustration at the University of North Texas, where one of his students introduced him to digital art.
“I was very resistant,” he explains to the Bremerton Patriot. “I was a traditional artist and didn’t think that doing art on the computer was real art. I knew it was the way of the future and that I had to learn it. I started playing around and began to see that the art was the same because the creation came from the artist, whether it was on a computer or not.”
Haynie loves many things about his passion, which eventually became his dream career, but one thing in particular is how people worldwide can identify with him as a cat lover. One reviewer on his Etsy page states, “This was given to my close friend as a tribute to all it took to save this cat. It was loved by her and passed on my meaning so it was a very good choice ….” Many more reviews like this one go to show how much Haynie’s art means them.
Haynie now donates about 10% of art to cat rescues.