Elaine Tin Nyo is a classically trained painter. She is best known for her critically-acclaimed food-related art projects that employ a variety of disciplines. After three decades of living in New York City, Elaine moved to rural France to pursue a multi-year art project about the lives of pigs, the hams they become, and the human culture that surrounds them. She is fascinated by the relationships that humans form with other animals (pets, farm animals, zoo animals and wildlife). Living in medieval European villages in the South of France and Tuscany intensified her connection to Medieval and Renaissance painting, especially the court portraits of Van Eyck, the Holbeins, the Cranachs and Van Der Weyden. Another early influence was an exhibition of 19th century paintings by itinerant livestock portraitists. As a young art student, she was taken by the loving depictions of prized roosters, cattle, horses and pigs, each animal pictured with the dignity usually afforded to royal or religious portraiture. She also loves to paint fur.
Creating commissioned pet portraits is a way to celebrate the complex relationship we have with the animals we take into our families. In these commissioned works, she aims to create beautiful classical portraits of beloved pets that reference the beauty and nobility of court paintings and commemorate the special connection we have with our animal companions.