Live from Kathmandu: Where I got the idea for the Nepal Art Dogs
May 24, 2014
In the 80's in Nepal, beautiful Beware of Dog signs abounded, all done by hand by the local sign painters. Above is a great example of a German Shepherd. There is some chipping of the paint, and some graffiti that may or may not be removable, but it was protected from the elements by an overhang. I believe that this post contains three signs by the same artist working in 1980's Kathmandu.
The owners of the vintage sign at the top of the post were happy to trade their German Shepherd (over 20 years old, they said) for this lovely new one by Sagar Bitsa. Sagar had painted a number of signs on spec last year, so I bought them specifically for trading purposes.
I believe this one to be the work of the same artist as the one I traded. The patina on this one is more worn and the young man who lives in this house said that it was there when his grandmother moved in over 15 years ago. I have been photographing this sign since 2007 when I first started the Nepal Art Dogs. I offered to trade the sign, but the man said that his grandmother did no trade on Saturdays as per her tradition. So I will come back later this week to trade this sign for a beautiful new one.
The different Kennel Clubs throughout Kathmandu have pretty much put an end to the charming individual ones. This good looking black dog has been almost covered up by the boring one.
We had a wonderful day yesterday walking across Kathmandu, looking for these vernacular Danger Dogs. Since the road widening of Kathmandu started 2 years or so ago, many of these signs are disappearing, never to return.
There must have been a fashion for these hand painted beware of dog signs in Kathmandu and this artist's were popular. The size is unusually small, and the patina depends on whether they were covered or exposed to the elements.
German Shepherds are always the most common choice.
I have over 450 photos of different beware of dog signs on Nepali gates taken over the years. Is there another book in my future?
Want to immortalize your pet and help sign painters in Nepal?
You can order your own portrait of your own pet, hand painted on metal and help to support the sign painters of Nepal whose work is disappearing.
It is too late for the current trip, but I will be returning later this year in plenty of time to deliver for holiday orders.
Be ahead of the pack and order today!
1. Please send me a photo of your pet. I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work. Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint. These can be hung indoors or out. Large format photos work best.
2. Let me know what you would like it to say.
3. Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer: naive, realistic, colorful, etc.
4. Tell me your pet's name and breed.
5. Send your photo to me at: [email protected]
That's it !
Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front. If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case. Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!
The cost is $250 plus shipping. Shipping is around $22 per sign (to the US). And 9.75% California sales tax for California residents. For overseas orders, I find the least expensive method of shipping.
Pay after choosing your portrait.
Multiple pets on one sign cost more ($325 for Double, $400 for Triple).
Let's keep these artists painting.
This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world. I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living. Everybody is happy. Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!