LINCOLN CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — Justin Sparks turned his passion for animals into a successful art career. He’s been a wildlife artist for more than a decade now, and his artwork can be seen on the Oregon coast, from Depoe Bay to Lincoln City.
“I’ve always painted animals… It’s definitely a passion of mine,” Sparks said.
Born in Arlington, Texas, Sparks says he grew up around animals.
“When I was young, my mother worked for the Fort Worth Zoo and Education in Texas,” Sparks said. “So pretty much from the moment, I can remember I’ve always been around exotics.”
Sparks later went on to work at the World Bird Sanctuary for nearly a decade, and then at a wolf sanctuary in Missouri.
“At the point when I realized I could actually paint.. My brother had given me a watercolor set for Christmas, as a joke, and I tried it and was just able to do it,” he said.
Sparks is a self-taught artist that has had his work displayed and sold around the world.
“When I worked primarily in watercolor, one of my main goals was just to bring awareness to different types of wildlife, especially endangered animals,” Sparks added. “And when I was doing the art shows around the country, it gave me the opportunity to really talk to people about each one of them.”
Sparks now lives in Lincoln City. He says he has painted about 35 murals on the Oregon coast– most are of marine wildlife, ranging from whales to a giant octopus.
“It was about in 2017, a friend came up and asked me to do a mural on the side of her wall and .. I had never done anything that large scale like that. I just fell in love with it,” he said.
Sparks doesn’t only paint wildlife animals. His most recent work includes dragon and Star Wars murals, both are in Lincoln City.
If you’re interested in having a mural done by Sparks, you can reach him at email@example.com.