There are important questions that art world thinkers have asked themselves for decades. Why should art be confined to the white cube? When does something become art? How do you define art? These are important questions to ask, but I am going to ignore them for this photo essay on dog art. Are these beautiful canine specimens works of art? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean that we at Hyperallergic love them any less.
If you think about it, your dog is a blank canvas — primed with beautiful fur, unique contours and a stunning face, just waiting to blossom into a work of art. While you were looking at and sharing cute dog pics and LOLCats at work, some creative producers were inspired to turn their own dogs into something more, something better. I have collected prime examples of dog art to celebrate the talent and creativity that some dog owners have poured into their pets.
Remember those giant and slow-moving robot walkers from Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back? Me too; I loved the whole trilogy as a boy, and this beauty really brought me back. Look at the quality air-brushing, the craftsmanship and the professional documentation. If you want to be a real dog artist, you need to master all of these skills.
How can we forget Spock from Star Trek? This little alien friend has a wig, a great outfit, crazy ears and a fantastic photoshopped background to complete the entire package. Canine Spock is, however, possibly more emotive than the original, which could be considered either inaccurate or a bonus.
While searching the internet for these beauties, I came across two awesome trends that simply could not be encapsulated with single images. First, the dog as superhero. Why shouldn’t we dream of man’s best friend becoming more than a companion, but rather a hero? Remember the old stories of heroic dogs like Lassie, Old Yeller and Yellow Dog? Or even the real life army dogs, police dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. Our modern day Shih Tzu has a lot to live up to; can he compete?
But what about a more primal desire? From shamanism to the Animorphs to the Harry Potter series, we have long been obsessed with turning into animals other than humans. Although we have not figured out the science just yet, some dog owners have perfected the art of transforming their pets into other species. These poor dogs must truly feel the sting of inadequacy when their human owners turn them into their ideal pets. Although there are obvious reasons why we don’t own zebras or tigers, we can always pretend.
These living canine statues are beautiful, weird, creative and aesthetic works that reveal much about their owners — although they are, of course, too kitschy to be real works of art. The dogs certainly merit critical analysis, and their owners some psychoanalysis.