The beautiful bride dog. Image from

The beautiful bride dog (image via

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.

Fast food dogs. Image from

Fast food dogs (image via

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.

Star Wars robot dog. Image from

Star Wars robot dog (image via

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.

Star Trek dog, with great backdrop. Image from

Star Trek dog, with great backdrop (image via

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.

Could man's best friend be transformed into the super hero of our dreams?

Could man’s best friend be transformed into the superhero of our dreams? (images collected and combined by the author)

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?

Why couldn't your dogs be another animal entirely?

Why couldn’t your dog be another animal entirely? (images collected and combined by the author)

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.

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Ben Valentine

Ben Valentine is an independent writer living in Cambodia. Ben has written and spoken on art and culture for SXSW, Salon, SFAQ, the Los Angeles Review of Books, YBCA, ACLU, de Young Museum, and the Museum...

2 replies on “Dog Art”

  1. I like that Whopper Junior and the hairy little fella with the donut, and a bunch of the others too. Hell – I love all of those furry little sillyheads, even if the Star Wars one looks pretty deranged. If this love is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. *PAWBUMP*


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