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News: Guest Posts
Calling All Artists Inspired by Naughty Pups
For the third annual Mutt Lynch Winery label contest

Our friends over at Mutt Lynch Winery in Sonoma, Calif., and Dog Art Today recently launched their third annual wine label contest, and we want to spread the word to Bark readers who are also artists—we know there are many of you.

The contest calls for canine-themed artwork (no photography) on the theme “Naughty” for a special blend of Cabernet called “Muttitage.” Five hundred bottles of the exclusive blend with custom label will be sold during the Dog Days of Summer event on August 6 at the Mutt Lynch Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. Ten percent of sales will go to the Healdsburg Animal Shelter.   In addition to bragging rights and the satisfaction of helping shelter pups, the winning artist receives a case of wine, a featured spotlight on Dog Art Today and an invitation to the Dog Days event. Find complete contest details here.
The entry deadline is Friday, May 13 at midnight PST.  Online voting runs from May 16 to May 21, 2011. Good luck and happy painting/sketching/assembling/sculpting. Don't forget to play with your dog.
News: Guest Posts
Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals” Coming to New York
Will the Chinese artist and government critic be allowed to come too?

It’s funny how an interest in dogs takes you places. This morning, I was drawn in by the photo of a giant dog head sculpture in The New York Times. It’s part of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac series, which will be installed outside the New York City’s Plaza Hotel in May.

  Wanting to know more about this inspiring canine, I ended up learning about an inspiring artist—Ai Weiwei. A longtime critique of the Chinese government, the sculptor/conceptual artist was embraced by the leadership for many of his early years. Ai was even selected to collaborate on the famous Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics.   Then, he turned around and criticized China for whitewashing it’s repressive policies during the Olympics. He blamed the government for corruption that lead to poor construction of schools that collapsed, killing thousands of children during the Sichuan earthquake. Since then he has been targeted by the government. He has been beaten, his studio has been razed and he is currently in detention.   What has this got to do with dogs? Well, other than the gorgeous Zodiac rendition not much, directly, but when you look at your life with dogs, you’ll probably see many ways they link you to the world—either physically, through walks and activities, or mentally, as you connect with dogs in art, literature, science, politics and on and on.   Meanwhile Ai was expected to attend the unveiling of “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” on May 2, we’re hoping he will be released to “walk” his rather large dog in New York on the big day.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Robert Bradford’s Dog Art For Sale
Big bucks can buy recycled art

The artist Robert Bradford of Great Britain has a dog piece up for sale, and it’s available for under $10,000! Bradford has a solo show in Paris at Envie d’Art and his work includes “Beg,” a two-foot high dog in a begging posture. It is made of toys, clothes and flashlights.

  Bradford is well known for his sculptures of recycled toys and has other works of art in the form of dogs. They are not to everyone’s taste, and while I like seeing them, they don’t fit my home décor or my home decorating budget.   Are you a fan?
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Jamie Wyeth Dog Portrait Up for Auction
Artist marked his own dog

Artist Jamie Wyeth created many paintings of his Yellow Lab Kleberg with a circular marking around one eye. One of them is called “Study of Kleberg” and will be up for auction at Christie’s in New York City next week. It is expected to go for $40,000 to $60,000, which is quite a chunk of change for a painting that was done as one of a series of studies for a larger painting of the subject.

  Wyeth, who paints animals as well as people and landscapes, once spontaneously painted a circle around Kleberg’s eye when the dog approached his easel while he was working. He liked the look, which reminded him of Pete the Pup from The Little Rascals, and maintained this mark on his dog for the rest of Kleberg’s life, which inspired many paintings. He found that moustache dye was better than paint because it lasted longer, though it still required monthly touching up.   I’m sure Wyeth has been criticized for doing this to his dog, but there is no denying that the resulting paintings are charming.
News: Guest Posts
He Will Draw Your Dog
Artist turns hobby into fundraiser for shelters and rescues

At night, after his full-time job as a software test manager at Lockheed Martin, Paul Atzmiller makes pencil drawings of all types of animals, especially dogs. It’s been a hobby for 25 years. But in the last 11 years, that hobby turned into something more.

  “Way back in 1998-99, some of my co-workers saw my animal drawings in my module at work and asked if I would draw their dogs,” the Littleton, Colo., artist says. “After drawing about a dozen or so for free, I thought maybe I could make some money for local animal shelters by drawing dogs for donations. Thus, my ‘I Will Draw Your Dog’ fundraiser was born.”   It works like this: People take good quality photos of their dog’s face, send them to Atzmiller with the name of the shelter or group they want to support, and he creates a free, 9-by-12-inch, black-and-white, highly detailed pencil drawing. He sends the finished drawing and a donation form to the owners, and, in lieu of any personal payment, he requests they make a financial donation to the shelter/group they want to support.    It works on the honor system. There is no obligation to send a specific amount, or even to make a donation at all. And Atzmiller makes no effort to ensure a donation was sent. It’s not about policing behavior; it is about inspiring good works and good feelings.   It takes a little over a week to compete a drawing and he absorbs all material and mailing costs. “I really enjoy helping these wonderful groups and it gives me a great feeling to know that so many people who support these organizations think highly enough of my talent to pay money for my drawings,” he says.   He recently complete his 418th drawing and from what he knows, donations from his art have supported at least nine shelters and rescue groups, including the MaxFund, Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue, Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR), Have Paws Will Travel, Colorado Humane Society, Rottweiler Rescue, Friends of Retired Greyhounds, Denver Dumb Friends League and National Canine Cancer Foundation.    He estimates he has raised more than $20,000 for these organizations, and even had one grateful dog owner donate $1,000 each to GRRR for two of his drawings.   Atzmiller hopes his fundraising concept will motivate other artistically inclined dog lovers to help their favorite dog group.   You can contact Paul Atzmiller by email at p.atzmiller@msn.com.

 

News: Guest Posts
Collecting Antique Dog Photos
Artistry and history—without the sticker shock of paintings.

People love collecting. Go to any garage sale, estate sale or antique show and you will see avid collectors carefully inspecting items in vendors’ booths on tables or in boxes. As antique shows gradually become a thing of the past, the Internet provides a major outlet for finding antiques and collectibles. It is especially helpful when what you collect is not common or easy to find.

  Collecting dog-related items has become increasingly popular during the past 10 or so years. Dog objects are fun items that dog lovers can use to personalize and decorate their spaces. The possibilities for collecting dog-related items are endless. Today, there are dealers who specialize in dog art, objects, books and photographs.   While many people collect specific breeds or specific items, my collection is eclectic and includes different breeds and media. It consists of wood, metal and dog figurines, prints, paintings and photographs, with photographs constituting the primary focus of my collection.   I have always loved old paintings of dogs but realized that most were beyond my budget. I started collecting photographs eight years ago when I found a framed photo of a Chihuahua sitting on a chair. I paid about $10 for it and my collection began. There weren’t many photos for sale at antique shows, so I was certain that it would take me years to build up a moderate collection. This pace would surely be better on my budget. I soon discovered E-Bay and an endless source for photos. My collection grew exponentially.   I was drawn to photographs for several reasons. First, as I mentioned, they are much easier on my budget than paintings. Second, they are more portable and ship easily and inexpensively. Third, I was intrigued by the fact that 100 or more years ago so many people cared about their dogs enough to have them photographed by a professional in a studio setting. Often the dog is seated or lying on a piece of furniture or in front of a fake backdrop of woods, water, mountains or a grand interior. I primarily collect photos with only a dog or dogs in them but occasionally I buy one with a person or people in them.   Within the field of photography there are many different types based on format and technology. Examples include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite (CDVs or visiting cards), cabinet cards, stereographs, albumen prints, dry plate, silver prints and real photo postcards.   Although I collect black and white photos that span between 1850 and 1950, I am partial to three types: CDVs, cabinet cards and photo post cards. CDVs were introduced in 1854 and were made until about 1905. They are albumen prints mounted on a 2 1/2-inch by 4-inch card. They are often printed or embossed with the photographer’s or studio name.   Cabinet cards were introduced in 1863 and were made until the early 1920s. They are made using a wet-plate negative on albumen paper that measures 4-inches by 5 1/2-inches and mounted on 4 1/4-inch x 6 1/2-inch mount. The size of the mount can vary for either type of photo. Both CDVs and cabinet cards were produced in photographer’s studios.   Photo postcards were first introduced in 1900 and remained popular through the 1940s. They are real photographs that are developed onto photo paper the size and weight of a postcard with a postcard back. Postcard photos were created by professionals and amateurs alike.

 

Care and Preservation Without proper care photos will not last. They need to be stored or displayed out of direct light in dry, temperate spaces. Learn more about collecting and caring for photographs at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, N.Y., The American Museum of Photography (virtual museum) and Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs by O. Henry Mace.   Some museums, antique dealers and art galleries specialize in animal related items, far fewer specialize in dogs. Here are a few that do: William Secord Gallery, Genesee Country Village and Museum, AKC Museum of the Dog and The Cobblestore.

 

News: Guest Posts
I Made Food! I’m Magical!
The moving adventures of simple dog & helper dog

I have a million friends who love dogs and another million who know I love dogs. This is why my email and Facebook inboxes are constantly jammed with multi-forwarded messages featuring sentimental dog stories, links to THE funniest dog video ever, and multiple memory-sucking photos of costumed canines posed or Photoshopped next to everything from babies to ostrichs complete with silly captions. So my thumb was practically twitching over the delete button when friend after friend kept forwarding and sharing the same blog post, "Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving." Finally, I gave in and read what is THE funniest dog-related blog post ever thanks to its belly-laugh inducing illustrations. The author-artist and her boyfriend attempt to move from Oregon to Montana without completely stressing out their two dogs. They are not entirely successful. Enjoy.

News: Guest Posts
Paper Master
Origami artist Eric Joisel dies at 53

Among the animals to inspire the French origami master, Eric Joisel, were dogs, such as the Greyhound pictured here. We were saddened to read of Joisel’s too-early death. Using only paper—no adhesive or scissors—Joisel modeled extremely detailed, animated figures of hedgehogs, seahorses, sprites, musicians and much more. You can almost imagine all those flat sheets of paper at his Argenteuil home sighing over the lost opportunity to come alive in his hands.

News: Guest Posts
Dog Days
Photos of canines that will make you drool

August is the season of culture-lite, when art institutions avoid demanding fare. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of pleasure to be had in comedies performed on park lawns, or orchestras flouncing through Broadway standards, or gallery walls filled with, well, “approachable” subject matter. The current photography exhibit at Corden/Potts Gallery in San Francisco is just such a seasonal delight with double-bonus points for us dog lovers.

  “We wanted something lighthearted for summer,” says gallery co-owner Elizabeth Corden about Dog Days: An International Collection of Canine Images. “My business partner, Jan [Potts], has a small collection of dog photographs and a great interest in dogs and we kind of went from there and decided that being August, ‘dog days’ would be a good fit, even though it’s never hot in San Francisco.”   In selecting the 21 images by 15 photographers, they had a curatorial test. “As we were putting together the show, if it really made you go awwwwh, we couldn’t have it,” Corden says. “We wanted to avoid the calendar art clichés.”   They succeeded. From the dreamy images of Susan Burnstine, a Los Angeles based artist who makes her own cameras, to Aline Smithson’s hand-colored photographs of a woman with a dog a la Whistler's Mother (“she has a great sense of humor and a very patient mother,” Corden says), the photographs are moody, elegant, funny and astonishing—like our dogs. Among my favorites are two theatrical portraits by Vee Speers, an Australian living and working in Paris, and Dog by Italian Giacomo Brunelli, from his series, Animals.   Dog Days runs through Aug. 28 at Corden/Potts Gallery, 49 Geary Street, Suite 211, San Francisco (Tues.–Sat., 11 am to 5:30 pm). If you’re not lucky enough to be in the Bay Area, visit the website to see all the images in the show.

 

News: Guest Posts
Dog Art Wine Label Contest
Choose your favorite, voting ends May 25

What’s better than dogs and wine? Dogs and wine and art...as demonstrated by the folks at Mutt Lynch Winery in Sonoma, who artfully mix dogs and winemaking—with mutts on the premises, on the labels and in the mission. They strike again with their Second Annual Dog Art Today Dog Art Wine Label Contest, co-sponsored by Bark. Leaving it to you and me to help select from among 77 delightful works of art one destined for label immortality. Sort of American Idol meets Benji.

CLICK HERE to peruse all 77 entries and cast your vote! Voting ends Tuesday, May 25 at noon PST.

From among the 10 top finalists announced on Thursday, May 27, winemaker Brenda Lynch; Moira McLaughlin of Dog Art Today; and Rae Huestis, Mutt Lynch label designer, will select a winner to be featured on the label of a red called “Muttitage.” Only 500 bottles of the exclusive blend will be produced and released at Mutt Lynch’s Dog Days of Summer on August 14—with 10 percent of all sales proceeds going to the San Francisco SPCA.

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