One of my latest commissions! It’s of my client’s German Shepard “Kei.” He wanted a photo booth image based off of the “Pitty Kiss” image I did a while ago. I was sent a photobucket full of images of his dog, then I picked through them until I felt like I had a good idea of what the dog looked like. I found two images that were close to the poses I used in this to use as references, then added the hat. I think it’s going to be the front of his X-mas/Holidays card this year =)
Once I have better access to printing/shipping I want to offer cards/notebooks/framed images along with commissions like this. Drawing pets is always fun, and it seems to have quite a market too!
I’ve already talked a lot about Aboriginal Australian art and how much it’s inspired me in my own work. Their art has been inspiring me for most of my life, but just recently I also found the Huichol.
My sister and her boyfriend moved to a small town just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in Nayarit about three years ago. After they had settled in a bit I flew down to visit with them (…and the beach). My sister had been telling me about the local artwork and how amazing it was, so one day we drove to the next town over for a weekend market where we were hoping to see some. Sure enough there were several booths set up… absolutely overflowing with color. The tables mostly consisted of yarn paintings and bead work and all of it was absolutely beautiful. I knew I’d found something really special as soon as I saw it.
I wish I could say more about the Huichol (Wixaritari) people, but the truth is I don’t know very much yet. I do know that they are an extremely old culture and struggling to remain intact. They retain their own language and religion, one based in Animism, and the designs of their art are direct reflections of that faith.
Some Huicholes have actually brought their art to wider audiences through galleries and exhibitions. One of my favorites is this:
It’s a Volkswagon Bug and it’s covered, absolutely covered, in over 2 million glass beads.
It’s name is Vochol (VW Bugs are called “Vochos” in Mexico). I’ve known about it for a while, but in one of those amazing coincidences I walked right into it one day! I was flying in to Denver International Airport (of all places..!) and as I was walking out of Arrivals I looked up and there it was, right in the middle of the floor. There was no lighting on it and only the tiniest display with it so it was easy to miss and I almost didn’t recognize it for what it was! I was geeking out and practically drooling all over it in the middle of the Airport… I got a few odd looks…
More traditional (and no less bad ass) Huichol bead art is normally done on carved wooden statues that are covered in Bee’s wax. Each little bead is pressed into the wax with a needle, one at a time.
About two years ago I was working at a Dog Daycare and boarding facility, and we got in one particular little dog… a miniature poodle, or at least that’s what they said. It was hard to tell what species she was, let alone breed. When I saw her my first thought was that I’d never seen a dog so old or decrepit, and that she had maybe weeks to live (I wish that were an exaggeration). She had no fur on her back and the skin there was hard and cracked, and she was so morbidly obese that her tail had been enveloped in layers of fat and her legs were bowed under the weight of herself. She couldn’t walk more then 2-3 feet on her own before having to sit down. Her eyes were glassy and had a permanent crust around them, and you couldn’t get too close to her face because her teeth were literally rotting and the smell was awful. She was in pretty bad shape.
Apparently the dog’s former owner was an elderly woman with dimensia. She would hold Cricket (the dog) all day and pet pet pet her back (which is why there was no fur). I found out later that the woman also fed Cricket from her own meals; she’d never had dog food in her life. When the woman was put into an assisted living facility the dog couldn’t come with her, so the family decided to board her with us. They spent thousands of dollars to keep her at our facility, but never bothered to take her to the vet… Needless to say I have some serious issues with how this little dog was treated, but that’s beside the point.
Here’s where the story gets a little happier. After she had been with us for a little more than three months, I approached my manager who then approached the owners and asked them if they would be willing to give Cricket away. They got back to me quickly enough and even offered to pay for her first vet bill (I think they were just happy to have a quilt-free way of getting rid of the dog).
Cricket is completely unrecognizable now, and still going strong! She’s lost most of the excess weight that she had (her tail reappeared from beneath the fat… though it’s a little crooked), although her body will always be a bit misshapen because of it, and all of the fur on her back grew back in. The vet ended up removing almost all of her teeth; she has just three left but she makes it work. She eats regular dog food now and she gets so excited about if that she jumps around when it’s breakfast/dinner time! Jumps!! For treats she eats apples too. I don’t know how with only three teeth… but like I said, she makes it work.
So anyway… TL;DR she was in pretty bad shape, but she’s living the good life now =) and look! I found a page of Cricket sketches!
Hahaha, oooh here’s a picture I found of her. Her first Halloween with us I dyed her tail pink (and a little bit of her butt and legs… she kept sitting down haha). She loved all of the extra attention she got.
About a year ago I created a couple images to help fund raise for a non profit animal assist program. This is the cat version, and I also did a dog version with kissing Pit Bulls =)
Looking at this now, I can see all of the techniques I used and all I can think about is how differently I would have done it had I done this more recently. The background, texturing and use of shadows especially are what i would change, but I try to never allow myself to edit/tweak images more than a few months old… I need to just move on and except that my techniques have grown since then.