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  • Writer's pictureXandra Mapp

Art and Fishing: An Introduction to Xandra Ann Art

Hi, I'm Xandra Mapp, and welcome! To be honest, I really am not sure what I'm doing starting a blog here, but...I figured that it could be a place to share information and tell a few stories. To start things off, and maybe give a few reasons why I do what I do, I'm going to share a few things about where I came from and how I got here. Forgive me if this introduction is a little winded.

Xandra Ann, marine and wildlife artist

I was very blessed to be raised as a 7th generation kid in the small (now very different) village of Port O' Connor, Texas. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be taught a lot about the outdoors from my family, from recreational hunting and fishing to working on a shrimp boat. While to some that might make me sound either well-rounded or like some kind of villain, I still live in fascination and excitement of the natural world. There is always something new and exciting to experience out there. Fishing is my absolute favorite thing to do, and to now be able to recreate scenes from those adventures is just the cherry on top.

Two kids holding a kingfish
Me and my brother Lloyd, 1993

Anyhow, after school, I spent 10 years working as a Registered Nurse. Working in healthcare is tough, especially if you spend that time as a hospital staff nurse. After moving to Houston, then to Stephenville, leaving there to travel the country solo, buying a home, and finally coming back to it, I tried to keep my sanity at the bedside. But getting back to fishing my home waters and drawing from my experiences really was my only healthy outlet (for being an advocate of health, I had plenty of bad habits...believe me). I'd been creative as a child, but never took it seriously. It wasn't until working one night shift in 2016 that I decided to draw a fish. At the time, I couldn't make up my mind which fish I was going to give my very best shot...a marlin, redfish, sailfish or tuna? After posting it, I put it up to vote, and got two votes on tuna. This detail is important for the next part of the story.

A yellowfin tuna pencil drawing
"Two Votes on Tuna" 2016

I drew, what I thought at the time, was a magnificent tuna. It came out way better than I expected, and really surprised myself. "I can do this," I thought. The positive response I got to the finished product from friends was enough to keep me going. Offers were made to sell the original, but I just couldn't. So, I made prints of "Two Votes on Tuna," one of which made its way to POC's Halloween carnival. It just so happened, a guy I grew up with had just moved back home too and saw it on display. Because of that picture, a little while later, he would ask me out on a first date. His name is Martin, that was seven years ago, and we've been married for almost three years now.

Female artist painting an osprey

In 2017, I finally combined my love for fishing and art, and started "The Texas Fin," as a little side gig to share, sell art and see where it would go. My corner of the dining room studio grew into the entire dining room, to a 20'x20' building, to now a full studio and gallery. My home waters kept calling me, so in 2021, I made the difficult decision to quit nursing, and work for TPWD Coastal Fisheries. The science side was interesting and fun, and I captained their offshore research boat for about a year before I had come to terms with myself. By 2022, the business name was changed to "Xandra Ann Art, LLC" and by 2023, I finally made the jump to becoming a full-time artist. Yay! It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life.

2024 is looking good, and I am so excited about it.

In Conclusion

Thank you so much if you've made it this far. Not every blog post is going to be this long. There is a lot I left out, some good and some bad. Stories for another time. There are too many to name individually at the moment, but I am incredibly grateful to all of the people I have known and met that have given their support throughout this creative endeavor. The studio is located in a blue metal building at 612 Adams Ave in Port O' Connor, known previously as the beloved Josie's Mini Mart. These days, I'm either there, on the water, or at home hanging out with my amazing husband Martin and our critters. Until next time, I hope y'all have a good one!

Man and woman fishing on and island

Check out available art online here. Future posts will include more about art, future events, tips, tricks, and some fishing stories. Stay tuned!

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