Different Strokes: Painter Madison Squizzero Breaks the Traditional Mold of Equine ArtMarch 30, 2022
Winston Churchill famously said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Equine artist, Madison Squizzero, has always appreciated the beauty of horses since she was a young girl, endlessly drawing them in the margins of her notebooks and school books—but she’s also inspired by the unique personality of each equine. “Horses are the reason I was interested in art in the first place,” she says. “They have personalities. It’s almost like each one you meet is different than the last. So it’s really cool to explore that via art.”
Like many children, Squizzero loved horses from a young age. She grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts pretending her bike was a horse until she started taking riding lessons. As she got older, she was always drawing – in the car, on vacation, at school – anywhere. “Then high school came around and I found myself figuring out that art was something I definitely really wanted to do as a profession,” Squizzero says. “So I decided after talking to my teachers, combining art and horses would probably be the most enjoyable route for myself.”
When she was accepted into Salve Regina University, Squizzero thought her concentration would be on drawing but as a studio art major, she explored a variety of disciplines. When it came to painting, she recalls, “I remember telling my teacher, ‘don’t be disappointed if my work doesn’t come out great, I’m not that great at painting,’” she says, “but after the first week or two, I really caught onto it. And here I am now, being an oil painter and painting horses for people.”
Over the years, Squizzero’s riding experiences included a variety of disciplines and avenues including hunter pleasure, Morgans, and IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) before she recently leased a big-hearted warmblood, and each experience has been a source of inspiration for her art. She graduated from college in May 2021 and has been working on getting her career off the ground while showing across the Northeast.
As a professional equine artist, Squizzero loves having the opportunity to connect with people in a more personal way, capturing their horses in a non-traditional manner. She feels that, historically, horses in art have been portrayed as rigid and as possessions, so in contrast, aims to instead showcase their personalities. “Within my own work, I like to portray them in a way that speaks to their individual character—I’ll paint their eyes or a portion of their face, or capture a unique pose that they make, like when begging for cookies,” Squizzero says. “I like breaking that mold of what people think of horse art and making it a little more personal.”
Though building a small business can be challenging, Squizzero’s ability to overcome the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic during her senior year and an out-of-the-box artistic vision has helped her remain confident. Moreover, the young professional defines success in an all-encompassing way: “As much as it means to me that I’m making money and providing for myself if I’m not happy while doing it, then I consider that failure,” Squizzero explains.
As for the future, Squizzero looks forward to continued fulfillment while making pieces for the horse community of their companions. “What I’m really looking forward to is just continuing to see my art grow and progress,” she says.
By Kathryn Selinga