Kimberly Santini left a software development job in 2001 to be a stay-at-mom to her three children. As an outlet, she started painting during the kids’ nap time. That hobby turned into a business after she had gallery representation and a waiting list of client want custom work, mostly of their pets.
“The first painting I completed was a long-overdue portrait of my brother’s dog. Then I painted a life-sized portrait of my sister-in-law’s horse, and then a couple of other dogs for friends. So, I suppose I was inspired by the love people around me shared for their companion animals,” Santini said.
Santini, is active in the arts in Lake Orion. She volunteers with the schools and the Downtown Development Authority. During Lake Orion’s Dog Days of August, she sponsors a dog-themed event. Santini also teaches children and adults and performs live demonstrations of painting. Her artwork is displayed throughout the metro Detroit area as often as possible. In fact, her art is on display in the Margot’s Gallery in Oxford as well as the Starkweather Gallery in Romeo continuously and can be purchased from those locations as well. However, with the ability to connect globally through the Internet, Santini is able to work with clients from anywhere.
“My actual geographic location in the Detroit area never played a role in my decision to open my studio. Because of the advent of the Internet, I was able to forgo the sorts of logistic-based decision-making that used to be standard fare for small business owners,” Santini said.
Santini grew up in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art history. After getting married, she moved to southern California and worked for The Getty Trust. After her children were born, she and her husband returned to Michigan to raise their kids closer to immediate family and in a quaint, small Midwest town. They ended up in Lake Orion and have been there ever since.
And she gives back to that community.
“I donate 10 percent of my gross to Animal Welfare, most notably, my local shelter in Auburn Hills,” Santini said.