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January 2010

Big White Dog Art

It seemed like I got a lot of big white dogs on the most recent Danger Dog trip.

Sierra is a Pit Bull.   Sagar put her in a ring of fire.   

Sierra again, this time in a larger format with a green background, as painted by Sabala.

 Simon White Labrador by Sanjib
Simon is a White Shepherd, painted by Sanjib Rana.   A Zen Dog, Simon was painted under a favorite chair.   The Nepali script reads 'Dharma Dog'.

 Simon white Labrador by Nara
From the same photo of Simon as above, here is Nara's version of his Zen portrait.

Gus the White Labrador Retriever as a puppy with his soccer ball by Megh Raj.

Gus all grown up and in full length by Sabala.

Belle, a white shepherd, painted by Amar Shrestha.

Belle as a Danger Dog, painted against a turquoise background, by Sufraj Khadka.

 Sonny White Lab Sabala
Be Aware of Sonny the White Labrador.   This signboard is by Sabala.

 Maddy white Labrador by Sabala
Maddy the white Labrador by Sabala.

All of the above paintings are hand-painted in Nepal by endangered Nepali signboard painters whose work is being replaced by digital imagery and mass-printed signage.    These are American Dogs and are all people's pets that have generated Nepali jobs.

Each signboard is approximately one foot square, is synthetic enamel on metal and is suitable to be hung indoors or out.  

You can commission a portrait of your own pet, each commission will generate work for 3 Nepali artists.  You pay nothing until you choose which one you prefer.   Please send a photo of your pet (dog, cat, horse, chicken, cockatoo, ferret, turtle -- you name it) and help support this Fair Trade art project.  

Contact me at [email protected] for more information, and be sure to go to my website at to see more artwork by these Nepali artists.

Micro-finance through Art Patronage.

Artists' Studios in Nepal


Above is Amar Shrestha's studio in Kathmandu, Nepal.   These are works in progress of Flick the Golden Retreiver, Moose the Rottweiller, Dexter the Coton de Tulear, Chester the Basset Hound, and Veera the Boston Terrier.

Flick and Dexter have been sold, but the others are available.   Amar's studio is on the second floor, he works in natural light, sitting on the floor.  That's a silk screening apparatus on the right bottom, where they make business cards the old fashioned way, on hand made Lokti paper.   Lokti paper, a specialty of Nepal, is also made the old fashioned way.

This studio is NK's and is located in Beni, a small but thriving town in the Myagdi province in Nepal.   The town supports at least 3 signboard painters.    Above is Jack the French Bulldog (looking like a pig dog), Gigi the puppy, Yoko the French Bulldog, and the last is another of Jack the French Bulldog.   The first two are still available.   NK finished the pieces with a dark blue background in the finished pieces.

Dilip Niroj at work on his Folk Art Obama commission in November of 2008.   The finished portrait was spectacular and sold immediately.

Here is Hari Prasad's work drying in the sun.    Many of these have been sold, the four portraits of the Great Dane's are in my personal collection, but the Collie and the Westie are available.

Hari's studio is in Kathmandu.

This is Lal Karki's Studio in Pokhara, a lakeside resort town in Nepal.   I liked this photo so much that it is the cover of my book 'Danger Dogs from Nepal Volume 2'.   I really like Lal's work, but his pieces have never sold, so the Dalmation, Fox-like Dog and the Spitz are all still available.

You can see how close Megh Raj works to the street in this one!   Megh Raj works in Kathmandu, and recently he redid his studio completely, so it was very spiffy the last time I saw it this past November.

Prem's studio in Pokhara no longer exists.   This studio was torn down and is now a bank.   The portrait of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Bearnese Mountain Dog and the Dalmation were all snapped up, but the Nepali dog, the Boxer and the Saint Bernard are still available.   I love the cow's hoof just outside the door.

Ram Mohan Patel's studio is a room off his house where he lives with his wife, two beautiful daughters and a son.

Sufraj Khadka cleans his brushes by painting anti-smoking graffiti on his walls.

This is the studio of Yuba Raj Adhikari of Pokhara.   These paintings are all portraits of rescue dogs.   I think all of the yellow dogs are still available, if they haven't sold yet at the Ghetto Gloss Gallery in Hollywood.   This group is a little larger than the standard size for these signboards at 12" by 15".   

Shree in his studio/home with a portrait of FloJo the Italian Greyhound on a couch.   Shree lives and works in this one room with his wife and 2 children.   The art on his walls always includes at least one Danger Dog.   The first time I met him, he had a painting of a 'beware of dog' sign on his wall.

The Nepal Art Dog project promotes the endangered art of Nepali signboards.   Signboards are painted on recycled metal, using synthetic enamel and are meant to hang outdoors.   Over 1400 portraits have been commissioned to date, giving these artists real work.   I have worked with over 58 artists.

On my last trip to Nepal, the Danger Dog commissions were the only art these artists were still hand painting -- all their other work was digital or printed on flex.   These artists can and will paint anything.  I decided to concentrate on pets as there was a tradition in Nepal already of 'beware of dog' placards and I knew that people would like them.

Each commission will be given to at least 3 signboard artists - giving 3 people work, the pet owner a choice and museum shops Nepali folk art.   No money is accepted up front.   If you don't like any of the 3 choices, you pay nothing.  

Please contact me at [email protected] with any questions.

This project is for pet lovers who collect art and would like to make a difference in these artists' lives.

More information is available at

Four Legged Friends Foundation - Ay Chihuahua!

Remember this is my year to donate my time and effort to good causes.   I started off by donating help for Sandra Lollino's Four Legged Friends Foundation.   FLuFF is dedicated to helping low income people pay their vet bills.

Sassy the Chihuahua was also there to draw in customers (and accept copious praise at the same time).  Sandra adopted Sassy after an unsuccessful foster a couple of years ago.   As Sandra says "I can't foster -- I'm a keeper".   Sassy is about 12 years old and has found a good home for those important last years of a dog's life.   She certainly seemed content to sit in her sling and get petted.

Inga the Chihuahua is a different story.   She would snap your fingers if you tried to pet her!   This portrait is synthetic enamel on metal and is by Jit Gurung.

Here is Inga again, this time by Hari Prasad (from the same photo as the above painting by Jit).   I took this photo of Inga at the opening of a Nepal Art Dog exhibit at the Copro Nason Gallery in Bergamot Station.   She was in her owner's arms and though adorable looking, she nipped and growled all evening long.   Inga is a spitfire if I ever saw one.    She also enjoyed sipping beer.

Chacha is a Chihuahua from Ojai.   As painted by Shree.

 Santosh.white chihuahua
ChaCha, this time as painted by Santosh Shrestha.

This little chihuahua was painted by Arjun Karki and is from an anonymous dog whose picture I found in the paper.  

Gustavo is a lucky Enlightened Dog who lives with a pack of small black dogs.   By Dilip.

 Gustavo Chihuahua Sabala
Same photo of Gustavo, this time painted by Sabala.

All the portraits of Chihuahuas that you see here today are available.   Please contact me at [email protected] for more information or with any questions.   You can also try my website at for more available portraits on metal by struggling Nepali signboard artists.

The portraits are all approximately one foot square, hand-painted with synthetic enamel on metal, suitable to be hung indoors or out.    

Find out more about FLuff at   Sandra helps a lot of people AND their dogs.

Works in progress

Sometimes I'm lucky when I show up and the artists are not finished and I get a glimpse of their works in progress.  

This Dalmation by Chandra Chaudhury is from the first Danger Dog trip in mid 2007.   Chandra is a young artist and I was already 2 weeks overdue in picking these up.  

I could see that he was working on them, but he shrugged and told me to return in 'a couple of days'.  

They were finished the next day.   Chandra Chaudhury's Dalmation is still available.  

That first trip, most of the Danger Dogs were speculative and had no buyer in mind.   I was just finding artists and seeing what the project might be like.   I had expected kennel clubs to be my customers for the art, and was just working out my business plan.  Imagine my surprise when Ed Moses, the artist, bought two of them, later that day Ed showed them to a gallerist from Ojai, Nancy Main, who met me that night at an art opening and offered my first Nepal Art Dog exhibit!   Whew!   That was a fun night.   

Here I have Amar Shrestha painting this early '60's Alfa Romeo.   His finished piece looked great, with a lot of detail in the transparency of the windshield and the glow on the car's paint job.   The tires need some work, though.

In retrospect, I probably should have left well enough alone and had no writing or simply the words Alfa Romeo.

This experiment in automotive art has not gone anywhere, though it certainly shows the possibilities with this project.   These artists truly can and will paint anything.  

I will be returning to Nepal twice this year and will be ordering more Nepal Art Dogs.   Each commission will generate 3 hand-painted signboards from three different struggling Nepali artists.   As I illustrate above, you can commission anything you like -- you are not restricted to pets.

Contact me at [email protected] with any questions.   You can also find out more at

Danger Cats and their Furniture!

Yesterday, I wrote about the Dogs and their furniture, but American cats are also pampered.

Jean-Claude the tabby catches some shuteye on his turquoise lounger.   Painted by Amar.   Whenever I get a photo of a sleeping dog or cat, Amar is the first artist I give them to.   Amar loves a sleeping animal and spends a lot of time on the background details.

This trio of tabbies look out from their mahogany table top.   Painted by Sabala.

Amar paints the same three kitties as above on a more basic table.

ShaShi puts the same three cats on what looks like a vinyl record.   You can never predict what you will get with this project!

Here's another shot of Jean Claude, this time Amar made the table look like wood.  

This is Holly Hobble the 3-legged cat under her 4-legged chair!   This Zen Cat is by Amar Shrestha.

The dramatic Black Cat Zia rests on her blue blanket.   Portrait by Sabala of Surya Studios.

This is Super Argo, a cat that lived to the ripe old age of 22.   The red blanket is the photo is a cowboy print.   This painting is by Sagar of Surya Studios.

When first asked to paint a Beware of Cat signboard, the artists asked 'Why beware?   Cats are good.'  

 Kitten on stove
I took this photo of a kitten warming herself on an oven in Mustang in June, 2009.

It was kitten season, I guess.   This mom and kitten were in the Daulighiri Guest House in Marpha. 

Danger Dogs from Nepal is a Fair Trade Art project dedicated to promoting signboard art in Nepal.   Signboard art is fast disappearing and being replaced by generic, mass-produced signage.   Traditionally in Nepal, signs were hand-painted on metal and usually included a painted figure to illustrate the message.   Illiteracy is still a big problem in Nepal.   Danger Dogs aims to remedy that through giving these artists work and giving their children a chance to go to school.

Please contact me at [email protected] with any questions.

You can commission your own pet by sending a photo, letting me know what you'd like your signboard to say.   Each commission will result in 3 portraits of your pet, giving you 3 choices and giving 3 artists in Nepal work.   You pay nothing until you choose which of the 3 paintings you like.  

Stay tuned.   More tomorrow.