By Jackie Devereaux
Palm Springs, CA – There are a lot of people across the Desert who say they want to help local indigenous animals and domestic pets in need when in reality, they do very little except toot their own horn. Shawn Savage is not one of those people. In fact, Savage is one of the real animal samaritans across the Valley who has been helping raise money and awareness for animals living in crisis for the past two years.
Savage first became an unsung animal hero four years ago after he and his partner, Chris Kyos, took in more than a dozen feral and abandoned cats living on their property located near the Bubbling Wells Elementary School in Desert Hot Springs. He said they didn’t have the heart to eject the dozen abandoned felines, and now are their unofficial and lifelong caretakers.
Savage quickly learned what it costs to feed and care for a dozen abandoned cats, so he decided to do something constructive, and put his art to work raising money to benefit pet charities across the Valley.
“I got involved in this because of the huge need,” Savage said. “I wondered, ‘How many people are out there like us trying to help these poor animals?’”
This season, Savage begins his animal fundraising efforts on Friday, Aug. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m., where he joins forces with Rancho Mirage artists Karen and Tony Barone and the BluPrint Green Gallery located at 386 N. Palm Canyon for an party to raise money for the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and the Feral Alley Cats and Friends of Desert Hot Springs.
The next evening, he will host his own launch party called “Savage Pets” on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Savage Gallery located at 870 E. Research Drive in Palm Springs. The evening will be hosted by recording artist Bobby Jo Valentine performing live music in the main gallery. More of the new “Savage Pets” series of paintings will be on display and available through a silent auction that begins at 7 p.m.
To continue his fundraising efforts, the “Savage Pets” series will be on display at several businesses throughout the city such as, The Rainbow Bar and Grill; Swank; Deko; The Sandwich Spot and Cold Nose Warm Heart located in Palm Springs and Palm Desert. These paintings can be seen and purchased online at www.TheSavageGallery.com.
“I want to build a brand and name for Savage Pets and I want to help the animals. It’s a win-win, and it’s a great cause,” he said.
Savage said he’s always been an artist. “Back in Ohio, my Dad saw I had talent and ever since the second or third grade he encouraged me to draw. He’d give me big animal books and ask me to draw pictures from it.”
Savage later served in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Iceland. Even while in the military, he was given the job to draw the station signs, billboards, matchbooks, napkins and menus. He never took art seriously as a career until he finished his tour of duty and returned to Ohio where he worked in antique stores.
Savage, now 44, was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, but relocated to Los Angeles when he was 35 years old. He moved to the Desert six years ago and began working with Christopher Kennedy, a renowned interior designer.
“He’s the biggest designer in the Valley and has helped me out tremendously. I moved into my gallery on a shoestring budget. The landlord made a one-time deal I couldn’t refuse and Kennedy vouched for me.”
The Savage Gallery is a 2,000 square foot facility with the entrance remodeled as a boutique with antiques, jewelry and art exhibited. The main room is a classic gallery space of approximately 1,500 square feet with two small offices in the rear.
Since opening 14 months ago, Savage has sold more than 60 paintings ranging in price from $350 to $1,200 each. “Savage Pets” paintings currently decorate the walls of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. The paintings are available for sale and hope to raise funds throughout the year for the animal shelter.
Last year’s fundraiser, the first for “Savage Pets,” kicked off the opening of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. During that first year, the shelter and Savage worked together to produce a line of greeting cards to be sold to create a unique and continuous product to raise funds for the shelter.
That successful collection of greeting cards sold out and this year new images have been created to build the collection from greeting cards to coffee mugs and T-shirts to help support animal needs throughout the year.
The Barone’s will donate a portion of their proceeds to the animal charities.
For more information, call 760-464-5978 or email Savageart1@yahoo.com.