Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Designer's Best Friend

I love my dogs. Those who know me are saying, Duh, dude - tell us something we didn't know! I have pictures of several of my dogs tattooed on my body. Years ago I told my mama I wanted to get a tat of my beloved Pit Bull, Magurk. Her response? Oh Douglas, can you imagine how silly you'll feel when your my age? Well, mama, I am your age now, and I don't feel silly - I only feel like it's time to add Peabo the Pit Bull to one of my limbs.

I remember going to a fund raiser at The Playboy Mansion back in the eighties - the charity of choice was an animal rescue group. One of the items up for auction was a commission by artist
Beau Bradford to do a portrait of the winner's pet, and I won. My assignment to Beau... make Magurk a star a la Andy Warhol. Check out the wonderful nine panel painting I have hanging in my living-room today.

Genevieve is also a pet lover and pet art lover. Check our the article below on some of her favorite pieces.

Doug at Swank

A few months ago, I had to move into a house that isn't exactly "pet friendly" and I'm beyond lonesome for my best buddy, a miniature daschund named Moose. I don't know if this is the reason why I'm noticing a lot more dog art and motifs in the design world, but I can't get enough of this super cool trend.
Maybe "trend" isn't the right word... dogs have been featured in the art world for centuries. Take Foo Dogs, for example. A pair of Foo Dogs (most likely the glazed turquoise kind) has become almost a staple in any Hollywood Regency space, but their original purpose was to guard Buddhist Temples and government buildings in China. They are believed to have first appeared during 208 B.C. - 221 A.D., and were most likely modeled after the Chow breed for their lion-like appearance. "Fo" is the Chinese word for Buddha, which is a possible origin for the Foo Dog name.
I found an excellent blog called Dog Art Todaywhich lists notable artists and designers, starting in the 14th century. Among notables such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, who often featured their own miniature daschunds in their works, are several contemporary artists who feature dogs as their central theme. Two of my personal favorites are Amy Turner and Luis Ramos, both of whom do pet portraits with a twist. Amy Turner's website showcases her wood-grain pet portraits which are very graphic design in nature. The boldness and simplicity of them is what I find most appealing; especially the way she manipulates the wood-grain to simulate different textures and colors - definitely worth checking out. Luis Ramos looks to the past and his Spanish heritage for the inspiration behind his neo-classical portraits. His business is called Petcasso, painting your loved pet into a most regal setting. Perfect for the very pampered pet.

Other ways our four-legged friends have been incorporated into our interior spaces are through funky fabrics and pillows. Crypton and William Wegman, famous Weimaraner photographer, recently launched a line of dog-inspired prints. Crypton fabrics are impervious to stains and are often used in the health-care industry, but are perfect for places where your pet likes to lounge, even available for slipcover applications for your own furniture! I also found some super cute pillows, which are shown below. Sketchy, Needlepoint, screen printed, or graphics, there's a style to fit every space.
So whether you're lonesome for your furry friend like myself, or want to pay homage to your loved one, there are several ways to meet your needs. Want something more upscale? Check out Bond and Bowery's selection of fine art dog prints and paintings.


- Genevieve at Swank

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