Equine artist Carol Moore Demme carves out a unique niche.
Growing up in Clearwater, Florida, Carol Moore Demme dreamed of becoming a fashion illustrator. But life often takes dreams on unexpected detours. Today, Demme is an accomplished equine artist and fashion stylist for, well, lawn jockeys.
“I was actually going to school to become a fashion illustrator,” says Demme. “But then I got married and had four kids. We always had pets, and I raised and showed Quarter horses. Our animals became my first paintings. That led to my career as an animal artist.”
When Demme moved to Ocala in 1987, she became involved in the Thoroughbred industry via her artwork. And soon she painted her first lawn jockey.
“I opened an art store, The Gift Horse, and that’s how I got to know Thoroughbred people,” she says. “The first lawn jockey I painted was my neighbor’s. Soon after, I was commissioned to paint several lawn jockeys of the area’s prominent farms for display at the Ocala airport. Next thing I knew, I was known as ‘The Lawn Jockey Lady.’ And the name has stuck.”
In the past three decades, Demme has painted lawn jockeys for horse farms and racing stables across the country and internationally. Longtime clients include Ocala-based Double Diamond Farm, Glen Hill Farm, Live Oak Stud and Bridlewood Farm.
“People fly in for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Thoroughbred sales and see the lawn jockeys at the airport. Then they order one for themselves,” says Demme. “I’ve painted some while they’re in town, and then they load them on their planes and fly home.”
One of Demme’s international clients is Costa Stud, a Welsh pony breeder based in Meopham, England.
“The silks were a basic navy blue with bright yellow stripes on the sleeves and cap,” says Demme. “But the challenge was that the farm owner wanted the Costa Stud logo on the silks and name on the base of the lawn jockey in Old English lettering. When it was ready, he sent a personal courier here to arrange for shipping back to England.”
Thanks to social media and word of mouth, Demme stays busy with lawn jockeys. In 2016, she painted 88 and estimates she’s painted thousands in her career. Clients typically email a picture of their silks, but some actually mail the silks to Demme. She has painted every color and color combination imaginable. Some silks are simple while others include diamonds, chevrons, stripes, polka dots, blocks, intricate logos and lettering. Lawn jockeys used to be cast iron and concrete, but now are made of aluminum, which is lightweight and more durable.
“I’ve done lawn jockeys for people who don’t own a farm. They just want one for their entry gate or garden,” says Demme. “Seems like at least once a year, I paint a lawn jockey in Secretariat’s silks colors for people who are fans of him.”
In addition to painting lawn jockeys, Demme continues to do equine, pet and wildlife portraits. And she also hand-paints furniture and leather goods, such as purses and sales catalogs. But Demme has no qualms about her claim to fame.
Says Demme, “I’m very happy being known as ‘The Lawn Jockey Lady’.”
Learn more › lawnjockeylady.com or carolmooredemme.com › [email protected] › (706) 897-7692