The Danger Dogs have pride of place at Hama Sushi today until September 14.
And what a place. Located at 213 Windward Avenue on the circle in Venice, California, this restaurant is packed nightly.
Happy hour at Hama is every day from 5 to 7 pm, and you'd better get there early as they fill up quickly. I had a delicious hand rolled spicy tuna with an icy cold Sapporo.
Zen Cat by Baba 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal 2008 available
This Zen Cat by Baba starts off the art on exhibit this month at Hama. I thought that this cat would enjoy the parade of fish that passes by.
Patches and Little Girl by Hari Prasad 2009 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal Available
I came across this little girl playing in the sprinklers with her dog and asked to take her photo. Her dog's name is Patches, and when I pointed out the spot, she replied, "That's not a spot, it's a patch". So there. As always, Hari Prasad puts in interesting shadows and shading.
Colette the Black Standard Poodle by Pulkit 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal 2007 Available
Pulkit works with Nepal Arts in the Tripureshwor District of Kathmandu. That street is full of naive artists. Pulkit's Colette is very traditional in form, and reminds me of many of the signs that used to line the streets of Kathmandu.
Harriet by Punam 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal 2007 Available
I have never shown this piece before as it has been one of my favorites from my personal collection. Punam has given Harriet an intense gaze. The real Harriet is a sweet, agreeable dog. The chartreuse background is the perfect foil for Harriet's coloring, and the red border completes the portrait.
German Shepherd (attributed to) Hari Prasad 1'x9" synthetic enamel on metal Available
This Beware of Dog sign was in Surya's shop when I first started the Nepal Art Dog Project in 2007. A little narrower than most of my commissioned signboards, this is a typical traditional Nepali sign. Notice the tongue which is almost always present on a Nepali Beware of Dog sign, and German Shepherds are the most common dog ever on signs in Nepal.
Jasper the Weimariner by Shree Laimachhain 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal 2007 Available
This is typical of Shree's style. Shree always painted his dogs in Elysian fields, and here Jasper is on his magic carpet. Shree has now moved to South Korea to work as a fieldhand as he can make more money there than painting in his own town in Pokhara, Nepal. Click here to find out more about Shree. I think it is a sad story. I only wish I had been able to help more.
Rescue Dog by Jit Gurung 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal 2007 Available
This rescue dog peeking out from behind the shrubbery at the Patio at Hama Sushi was painted from a small newspaper photo. I did not know Jit at the time and was just starting the Danger Dog project so I had no commissions and had to find artists. I really liked Jit's style and compare his work to Art Crumb. Jit is great at realistic portraits of humans, too.
Little Dog by Santosh Shrestha and Rocky the 3-legged cat by Amar Shrestha Available
These two artists are not related. Shrestha is a common name in Nepal. The first with the green background is by Santosh Shrestha whose painting style is singular. His use of surprising colors for the dog's fur looks even better up close. Santosh lives and paints in Pokhara, Nepal
Rocky the 3-legged cat looks a little disjointed here, but as he relaxes on his back in bed, Amar made Rocky look like he is sitting up on his elbow and doing leg lifts. The name Amar means 'long life' in Nepali and Amar paints in Boudha, a Buddhist area of Kathmadu.
4 Labs in a BMW by Sanjib Rana 15"x12" synthetic enamel on metal 2010 Available
These four adorable labrador retreivers are spilling out of the hatchback of their BMW. Painted by Sanjib Rana -- the detail on this one is amazing.
Nepali Dog by Nabin 2009 Willow by Sagar Both 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal Available
Nabin's portrayal of this black and white Nepalese street dog gives the dog a harlequin feel. Nabin's dogs are cartoonish.
Willow the Labrador Retreiver by Sagar is colorful and bright with her lei of flowers and big smile.
Horse Crossing by Sanjib Rana 2007 12"x15" synthetic enamel on metal Available
Sanjib Rana is the only artist I work with who was not a signboard painter. Thus his work is a little different from the others. He was recommended to me by an ex-patriot living in Kathmandu. Sanjib had painted the walls of his home with birds, horses and flowers. Sanjib already had books of images of flora and fauna. But he had never painted on metal before and does not do the lettering. He subcontracts that to a friend.
Bo Obama by Baba, Dachshund by Sagar, Two Cats by Punam 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal
Be Aware of Bo Obama was painted by Baba on a rooftop in Kathmandu and I was there. If you'd like to see photos of Baba in action, please click on the Nepal Dog YouTube Channel. Bo is the world's most famous Portugese Water Dog.
Bailey the Dachshund by Sagar is a classic portrait of a Dachshund in a circle of flames. With his little tail jutting out to the left and the lavish attention to detail that Sagar paid to his collar, it is a fine piece.
Cheeto and Scooter are two Danger Cats, but Punam, the young artist, must be a bit of a romantic as he added "We are love..." instead of the requested Nepali translation 'Kathane Boralloharu' (Danger Cats in Nepalese). The green background and golden border compliment these two love cats.
Emma the Shepherd mix by Amar Shrestha, Scottie Dog by Hari Prasad 1'x1' synthetic enamel on metal
Amar Shrestha's portrait of Emma is some of his best work. When I saw this portrait as a work in progress, Amar had had the yellow background only, and I was glad he added the green to the mix. This is a striking portrait of a shepherd.
Hari Prasad painted this portrait from a photo that I took of this handsome dog walking in front of my house. There is an urban feel to this with the sidewalk as background and the deep shadow under this Scottish Terrier.
Bonza by Hari Prasad, Moose the Rottweiler by Ram Krishna, Weimaraner by Arjun Karki
Bonza is part of a quintych where this Border Collie had the colors of the Tibetan prayer flag on one side of her face. See below for the full set in situ at the exhibition in Kathmandu.
Moose the Rottweiler is a puppy in this portrait by Ram Krishna. The grass is a nice added touch.
Jasper the Weimaraner is by Arjun Karki whose wide-eyed gaze is typical of Arjun's primitive outsider style of art. A very pretty sign, with a delicate pastel palette.
Bonza has a black right eye in 4 out of 5 of these paintings but her portrait with the white background reverses her black marking.
This quasi-prayer flag was hung up at the very first Kathmandu exhibition of the Danger Dogs in November, 2007. (The Dogs first exhibited in Ojai in October, 2007). The artists had never really thought of themselves as artists before. The exhibit was covered by the Annapurna Post in Nepali script, which was perfect for the artists. The artists were invited along with their family and friends, and many locals and ex patriots attended.
Come by Hama Sushi and see them soon.
More about the Nepal Art Dog Project:
Nepal Art Dogs is a Fair Trade Art project that promotes the endangered signboard artists of Nepal. With over 2000 pieces commissioned in 4 years, the Danger Dogs have made a difference in the lives of many artists. I decided to concentrate on pets as there was a tradition in Nepal already of 'Beware of Dog' signs and I knew that people would like them. These are truly fine artists whose livelihood is disappearing at an alarming rate.
On my most recent trips to Nepal, the Danger Dog commissions were the only art these artists were still hand painting -- all their other work was done from a mass-produced image, often printed on plastic flex.
You can help by ordering a custom portrait of your pet. Each signboard is approximately one square foot, synthetic enamel on metal. Each commission will be given to at least 3 signboard artists -- giving 3 people work, you a choice of 3 signs and museum shops Nepali folk art.
No money accepted up front. If you don't like any of your paintings, you pay nothing. All artists are paid fair trade wages.
For pet lovers who collect art and would like to make a difference.
Micro-finance through art patronage.
For cats, horses, ferrets, birds, hamsters, etc, please go to NepalDog.com for more examples.
If you would like to see a particular breed, please contact me at [email protected].