I guess I am a lucky dog as the prestigious Venice Art Walk has asked the Danger Dogs back for a second year. Last year was their 30th Anniversary and 30 Danger Dogs from 30 different struggling Nepali signboard artists were put up for silent auction -- 14 were scooped up. Quite a coup for this Fair Trade art project!
The Venice Art Walk is a major fundraiser for the Venice Free Clinic which has been helping people with free, quality health care since 1970.
Now I'd like some help choosing which of these diptychs are the best to show the diverse work of these endangered Nepali signboard artists.
These are both of the Havanese puppy Desi. By Punam and Sagar left to right.
This is Jasper the Weimaraner. Jasper lived next door for a while in the early '90's. He was a handsome Weimaraner. Here Shree Shrestha places Jasper on a magic carpet ride. Shree paints in Pokhara and lives with his wife and 2 kids. Each year he moves to a smaller space. Shree tried to emigrate to South Korea for a 3-year contract -- going so far as to learn the Korean language, travel back and forth from Kathmandu several times, and be willing to leave his beautiful and beloved family in order to give them a better life. But the deal fell through - leaving him all the worse off for trying. I'm happy to have him stay with his family and keep painting for this Nepal Art Dog project.
Here Jasper floats on a sea (or a blanket) of blue, as painted by Arjun Karki - also from Pokhara. A pastel masterpiece. Arjun used to paint for Thapa Arts but has since moved on. These artists are itinerant.
Here is little Gigi -- innocent as a puppy could be.
Sagar caught another side of Gigi! Sagar paints his dogs to be thugs, but who knew? A malevolent Gigi? This was from my second Danger Dog trip in November 2007 and Surya was still trying to tell me that all the fabulous work coming out of his studio was done by him. I told him I was amazed at his range of styles! But this is the cynical hand of Sagar for certain. I'm sure his sense of humor ran off with him on this one.
NK Art of Beni gave Gigi a frightened 'deer in the headlights' expression. One rule of thumb is that owners will always buy the portrait that looks most like their dog. When asked by the Nepali artists how I'd like the portrait framed or what background to use, I tell them that they are the artists and that they can choose. The owner chose a portrait that looked like her dog. Another reason to have 3 painted!
Cooper is a Zen Black Lab that lives the good life in Northern San Diego County. As painted by Hari Prasad, Cooper enjoys his favorite toy frog while looking rather maniacally at you.
Here's a blurry Cooper by Shahi. I must have been jet lagged when I took this photo! I'll replace it soon, I promise. Anyway, Shahi - who goes only by his last name - was in his long time studio when I ordered this painting and when I came to pick up, he had moved to MUCH smaller and inconvenient digs in the Lakeside district of Pokhara. He is a talented artist and I hope he is thriving in his new studio. A bicycle repair shop had moved into his space. They had previously been next door.
Shahi in his old studio in happier times.
Danger Dog Gabby by Sabala. Next, her doppelganger...
Sanjib Rana put the mountains of Malibu behind Gabby. This painting is 15 inches high by 12 inches. Sanjib Rana is my only 'fine' artist. Sanjib had never painted on metal before I commissioned his first Danger Dog. He is a muralist for various discerning households in the Kathmandu area.
More tomorrow! Please let me know either by comments or on Facebook or Twitter what you think. Any favorite pairs of Danger Dogs? You can also check out my website or go to the Nepal Dog YouTube Channel to see more about this Fair Trade art project.
The time to order your very own Danger Dog is right now. I will be leaving for Nepal in early June, coming back in early August with the commissioned portraits. Each order will get a choice of three different paintings by 3 different Nepali artists. You tell me what you'd like it to say, what style or artists you prefer, then send me a jpeg of your pet. You pay nothing until you choose which Nepal Art Dog you would like.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or go to NepalDog.com for more info.