Toni Crook is a native of the coastal towns of southern California. She is a mother of 8 sons and 2 daughters, ranging in age from 1 to 28 years old, including a set of quadruplets and a set of twins. Her unique maternal experiences, the emotional complexities involved in successfully raising ten children, and her passion for living a mindful and whole health lifestyle, inform much of her work. She works in 2d and 3d, including both oil paintings and sculpture in her bodies of work. She studied the arts at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA, earning an AA in Painting & Drawing, and a BFA in Sculpture. She is currently living in northern California while working toward an MFA with a sculptural emphasis in the Academy of Art University’s graduate program.
"Family Dog at Heaven's Gate" was created to aid her family through grief when their family dog was killed by a hit and run driver. Accepting loss can be a challenge for children as they often don’t fully grasp the permanence of death. She found it helpful to explain the loss as the beginning of a new journey for the deceased, offering the children an opportunity to process grief using hope and imagination.