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A note on Petraits…

In the months since I stopped offering Petraits I’ve received many emails from past customers hoping to place additional orders. I wanted to provide a bit more of the backstory to why I’m not currently accepting orders because to be honest, it feels pretty terrible to say no to a customer who has supported my artwork and is interested in continuing to do so without giving a bit more explanation.

I sold my first Petrait in 2009 for $25. I was working inside sales at a software company to pay the bills and I was over the moon that anyone was willing to pay a dime for my artwork. Two years and many farmers market sales later, I was able to quit my job and pay my bills with the money I earned from Petrait sales. I continued to do so for the next 5 years. I can safely estimate that over the years I have painted more than 2000 pets. I’m forever grateful for every single one of those orders. Each one was an encouragement. The support of Petrait customers first demonstrated to me that this whole art thing could really have legs. It also kept food in my cupboard (and kibble in Davey’s bowl).

As much as I love the Petraits, I also have a need to create new things and to stretch myself artistically and professionally. I’m continuously exploring other mediums and discovering new avenues for my artwork. I started creating mirror mosaic surfboards the same year that I started offering Petraits but it wasn’t until early 2015 that I launched to actively promote it. The surfboard sales quickly surpassed my petrait sales and have continued to grow. At the start of this year I landed a contract to create 9 custom mirror mosaic surfboards for the Hilton in Cabo San Lucas. The biggest single sale of my career!

With all of this, I quickly got to a point where I was operating at a level I could not sustain. It is important to me to do my best work, and to stay in love with my work – the two go hand in hand. If I wanted to remain true to that standard, something had to give.

From a financial perspective, in order for the Petraits to compete with the surfboard art for my time, I would have to charge triple or more my standard price. The opportunity cost of creating Petraits was just too much and with the excitement of creating something new, I was ready to move on. So this past January I removed the Petraits from my website and decided to focus on the surfboard art.

On a personal sidenote… I got married! We celebrated with family and friends here in San Clemente in August and spent a good part of November on our honeymoon. With hopes of starting a family on the horizon, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my decisions about work, money, and time need to be very deliberate at this stage in the game.

Thank you for supporting original art and small business. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity my customers grant me to work hard at what I love. I am dedicated, as ever, to continuing to learn and grow and try new things as an artist and a human. Today, that looks like mirrored and painted surfboards, murals, community projects and custom commisioned projects. Tomorrow… we’ll see.

You have played a crucial role in my adventures in art & I look forward to seeing what’s to come!

All the best,

Katy Helen

I’d Love To Hear From You

Please drop me a line via email at and I’ll be sure to respond to your message as soon as my hands are free!

Katy Helen Art
San Clemente, CA 92024