Down At The Doghouse

ELMORE Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Steve Garst was born in Montgomery but spent his growing up years in Mobile. His wife, Deb, is a Birmingham native. Today, the couple call Elmore County home which leads us to their Doghouse which has nothing to do with doghouses.

Deb says simply, “My teachers in elementary school knew I had an aptitude for art.”

Over the years not only has that aptitude led her to become successful and famous, but an art guild meeting brought about a chance meeting with another artist.

Here’s how Steve recalls the event, “Deb was I think the Vice President of the art guild and she was doing a program that day and I just stared at her the whole time.”

Deb has a similar recollection, “You don’t think about love at first sight but as soon as I saw him there was something there and I knew it.”

The meeting led to marriage and a melding of artistic creations, “The magical thing about this is when you have another artist, the two of us together, we work so well as a team because we do pieces, collaborative pieces, together. She’ll start something and she’ll say take this and see what you can do with it,” explains Steve.

Still, you’d think an operation called Doghouse Art would make doghouses. Lots of people do.

“Everybody thought we made custom made doghouses, so we had to explain. No, we don’t it’s not a custom doghouse company. It’s an art studio,” laughs Deb.

Steve’s artistic background included work as an illustrator. “I got a call one day from a fellow out at Maxwell Air Force Base and he wanted to know if I’d come out there and interview for a job as an illustrator. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll come out and take a look.’ Anyway, they hired me, and I had a 28-year career then with the government so I have a 37-year career as an illustrator.”

After retirement, the couple settled in the Blue Ridge community outside Wetumpka and built Dog House Studio.

Steve explains their work together. “I’m upstairs and she’s downstairs. I think they only thing I ever hear out of her is turn the music down. To me, music and art have always been connected.”

“It’s almost a spiritual thing with me because the paint actually has a mind of its own,” says Deb.

Steve has a similar sentiment. “To be an artist you don’t just sit down and do it occasionally. It’s a lifestyle. It’s how you live.”


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Fred Hunter

Fred Hunter

WBRC First Alert Meteorologist Fred Hunter was born in Alabama in the historic town of Ft. Payne. He has lived, attended school, raised his family and worked in the South all his life.