Vegan Artist You Need to Know: Dina Appel – Saving Animals One Painting at a Time!


Dina was raised in a little California beach town. Her early days growing up near the water had a big influence on her art…she loves to paint sea life and the ocean. The animal kingdom in all its splendor is her true love. Dina started her art career young; she sold her first commercial illustration at 15! She went on to receive a BFA in Drawing and Painting at CSULB and a Master’s in Art Therapy at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Dina is a master of the watercolor medium, having taught watercolor painting at the college level, but her real love is Acrylic. Using collaged papers (often symbolic and meaningful vintage papers and ephemera) she creates a textured first layer, upon which she builds up successive layers of bright color and texture. Dina’s passion is painting animals of all types, including wildlife, farm and domestic animals, insects, and marine life. She is an outspoken advocate for animal rights and conservation.


I’ve had a lifelong connection to animals. As a tiny child, I pretended at length to be a seal (named Richard) and a leopard. I so clearly remember the birthday gift I received on my fifth birthday: an aquarium full of tropical fish. From the tide pools full of ocean creatures I loved as a child, to my menagerie of childhood pets, and the wild and exotic creatures that always fascinated me, animals dominated my interior space.


During my soul-searching sabbatical, I had a profoundly life-changing experience. My new apartment was located adjacent to an ultra-conservative religious sect, where there was an annual event that involved the abuse and ritual slaughter of animals. As a life-long vegetarian, I was horrified and moved by this experience and had a profound realization: animals are not ours to do with as we, please. They feel. They feel pain and fear and contentment as we do, and deserve their lives just as we deserve ours. I truly believe that the root of all evil is the belief that one life is more valuable than another. I no longer wanted to participate in the wide-scale abuse of sentient creatures that is our factory-farm culture. I became a vegan.


Over the months and years that followed, as I learned more and more about the treatment of both domestic and wild animals, it became apparent that I needed to paint animals! These new paintings reflect my current exploration of animals’ relationship with us.


My Mission Statement: to use my artistic abilities to help animals and help people to understand and have empathy for the non-human animals that share our world.

Dina’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries in California, Arizona, and Hawaii, and fine art shows throughout the West including The Beverly Hills Affaire in the Gardens, The Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, The La Jolla Festival of the Arts, and others.


Dina’s artwork, both murals, and paintings on canvas can be found in many major collections including Infiniti Auto Corporation of North America, Oakland International Airport, Encino State Bank, and celebrity homes in the Los Angeles area.

Dina’s greatest goal is to use her gift to raise money and awareness for animals. A portion of all proceeds is donated to animal rights and conservation focused charities.


“We Are All Cecil” an exhibit of new paintings by Dina Farris Appel
Gallery 381, 381 W 6th St, San Pedro CA 90731
exhibit runs through Dec. 30th, 2016
Gallery phone: (310) 809-5082


Connect with this Inspirational Soul online:

Personal Website:

One person living or dead you would love to hang out with for a day? What would you do?

I would love to hang out with Georgia O’Keeffe for a day, in her later years when she lived in the New Mexico. We would look out onto the glorious landscape in the morning, and choose a spot that looked promising. Then we would drive out there in her old specially-outfitted truck and paint for the day, taking a break to eat a delicious lunch and have a little siesta. She’d tell me all her secrets about painting and life. Then we’d go back to her ranch and hang out with her friends while watching the sunset and having a glass of wine and talk about life and art.

Is there a non-profit you would like everyone to know about?

I can’t just pick one! One of my favorite non-profits is Sea Shepherd, but I think most people know about them. Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin project is an amazing group. They are trying to stop the hunting, selling, and slaughtering of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. There was a movie made a few years ago about the Taiji dolphin hunt, called The Cove. It made a big impact at the time, but I think most people have forgotten about it. The dolphin hunt (which is a horrific thing) still goes on every year, Ric O’Barry and his group are trying hard to put an end to it. Another person I have to mention is Marc Ching, who runs The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Marc is working tirelessly to stop the dog meat trade, and specifically the Yulin Dog Festival. He’s a hero of mine.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

The one that’s written on a post-it next to my computer right now is: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead.

Do you have any addictions or obsessions?

Yes! I study martial arts, specifically Yuchia Kung Fu and Jeet Kune Do, and I’m completely obsessed! I’ve been studying intensely for just over two years and it has absolutely changed my life. I think about it all the time. It’s such an amazing workout, and what a stress-reliever! Punching and kicking the pads, sparring, grappling, it’s so fun and really clears the mind. You can’t be thinking about your life problems when you’re sparring or you’ll get punched in the face!


Get this bag here!

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