Man’s best friend— a constant companion at your side and a constant source of inspiration as an artist’s muse. Dogs have been depicted in art for centuries; their loyalty, strength,work ethic and love endless fodder for artists to use as both subject and symbol. Today, artists include our four-legged friends in their painting, photography, sculpture, video and drawings, each with their own voice and understanding of the animal. We’ve complied a list of five of our favorite artists who have put fido front and center in their art.
Photographer Anna Sychowicz’s photos of dogs are super saturated, dreamy portraits that are packed full of emotion. It’s the adoration and sweetness we see every time we look at our own pets, only forever captured through a photographer’s lens. She’s elevated the simple pet portrait to something more dynamic and artistic with her use of color and setting; brown dogs pop off the image against vivid purple and become moody and stoic in a darkened barn.
Yet another photographic series comes from Aaron Summerfield with Pet Peeves, albeit with a slightly sillier bent. In the series, you see Summerfield’s Boston Terrier/Frenchie mix Peeve, doing all manner of naughty things in the photographer’s house; all things the mischievous pup had gotten into at one point or another previously. Summerfield so cleverly and sweetly captures the bad behaviors any dog owner knows too well— peeing on the floor, drinking from the toilet, chewing shoes and licking everything in sight.
In a slightly creepy but nonetheless fun turn, there are Tom Campbell’s 120 papier-mache dogs. The Irish artist created these doggie sculptures for the Kinsale Arts Festival in County Cork Ireland with the help of a team of volunteers. After creating the pack of dogs, the artist and his team scattered them around the town during the festival, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. The dogs were of all breeds and in all forms— poodles running, labs sleeping and terriers playing. Campbell encouraged the public to interact with the dogs which made for some seriously funny (and weird) formations throughout the entirety of the festival, like the dog pile on the beach or the single line formation down the street.
Gloria Najecki couldn’t give herself a more fitting moniker with Gloria Paints Dogs— the woman paints a lot of dogs. Her work is straightforward and uncomplicated but with incredible depth and skill. She understands both the physical and emotional complexities of the dogs she paints, from getting the texture of their fur just right to capturing their personalities with paint.
The only thing cuter than a tiny dachshund is a giant dachshund and author Mitch Boyer is capitalizing on this truth in his latest children’s book, Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn. Currently a Kickstarter project, the book is meant to help children deal with change in their own lives, as Vivian navigates the Big Apple after moving there from New Mexico. Vivian and her owner are captures in a series of sweet, fun photos, from taking selfies at the Brooklyn Bridge to cuddling on the couch in a high rise with New York City buildings in the background. Not only is it a engaging, thoughtful way to show kids that change doesn’t have to be bad, it’s also cleverly and artistically shot with Vivian towering over her owner in each photo.
Don’t hesitate to capture your best friend in your artistic style – and share it, like the people did above, on sites that take art submissions!