dogs

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Art Craft

Patchwork Coats with Frayed Fur Add Shaggy Texture to Barbara Franc's Dog Sculptures

May 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

Left: “Scottish Deerhound,” 66 x 80 x 20 centimeters. Right: “The Haberdasher’s Dog,” 55 x 78 x 24 centimeters All images © Barbara Franc, shared with permission

Alongside an eccentric metallic menagerie, artist Barbara Franc stitches shaggy hounds with frayed fur and coats layered with assorted patches of prints. The fabric creatures are part of Franc’s collection of animals constructed with repurposed materials that range from buttons and vintage tapestries to windshield wipers and cutlery. To create these soft sculptures, she wraps scraps of worn trousers, curtains, and scarves around a padded, wire armature, defining a muscular hind leg with tweed or a stomach with an embroidered fairytale scene. The tattered edges mimic a tousled tail and the fringe sticking up from an ear, adding lifelike texture to the canines.

If you’re near Towersey, Oxfordshire, this August, Franc is offering a five-day workshop on crafting the textile forms at The Phoenix Studio. The West London-based artist will also have pieces this week at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead Heath and with Rockwood Group at Bucks Art Weeks slated for June. You can find more of her upcycled characters on her site and Instagram.

 

Detail of “The Haberdasher’s Dog,” 55 x 78 x 24 centimeters

“The Haberdasher’s Dog,” 55 x 78 x 24 centimeters

“Entre le Chien et le Loup,” or “Twilight Hound,” 58 x 67 x 21 centimeters

“Shaggy Dog Tale”

Detail of “Shaggy Dog Tale”

“Entre le Chien et le Loup,” or “Twilight Hound,” 58 x 67 x 21 centimeters

 

 



Art Music

In 'No Strings,' Willie Cole Transforms Instruments into Abstract Animals and Figurative Sculptures

March 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Piano Bird” (2021), piano legs, keys, and wiring, 34 x 32 1/2 x 42 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse. All images courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York, shared with permission

Artist Willie Cole is known for transforming discarded materials into sculptures with a tenor of interrogation. Much of his three-dimensional work revolves around found objects like high-heels, plastic bottles, or ironing boards that he turns into pieces of cultural commentary, addressing issues of mass production, historical legacies, and identity. The items tend to guide the formation of his assemblages, he says, sharing that, “the objects that I use I see as them finding me, more so than me finding them… I see an object and suddenly I recognize what I can do with the object. So in that sense, there is an energy or spirit connection to the object. I am exploring the possibilities of these objects.”

Cole’s solo show No Strings, which opens this April at Alexander and Bonin in New York, exemplifies this approach. The artist, who’s currently living and working in New Jersey, recovered guitars, saxophones, and pianos from Yamaha’s recycling program and through his usual alchemy, has created anthropomorphic creatures and abstracted figures from their parts: he converts hammers into tail feathers and spliced acoustic bodies into dogs and anonymous musicians. The pieces are expressive and tied to the endurance of America’s past, particularly drawing a connection between the guitar’s shape and the yokes forced on people who were enslaved.

In addition to the upcoming No Strings show, you can see a few of Cole’s sculptures in the ongoing Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room at The Met, and explore more of his works on his site and Instagram.

 

“Yamaha Dog 1” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 23 1/2 x 12 x 29 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Two-Faced Blues” (2021), Yamaha acoustic-electric guitar parts, 23 x 29 x 15 1/2 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Yamaha Dog 2” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 18 5/8 x 11 x 27 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Picker” (2022), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 27 x 15 x 15 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Joy” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 44 1/2 x 22 x 7 1/2 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Strummer” (2022), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 28 x 16 1/2 x 15 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

 

 



Art

Nimble Pugs and Other Cheery Canines Are Chiseled into Stocky Wooden Sculptures by Misato Sano

May 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Misato Sano, shared with permission

Studies show that people are inclined to adopt canine companions that resemble themselves or family members, a psychological impulse that Misato Sano (previously) flips on its head. Rather than carve a pack of doggy doubles, the artist creates textured wooden sculptures of curly-haired poodles and acrobatic pugs imbued with different aspects of her own personality. Encompassing multiple breeds, expressions, and physical traits, each work is a self-portrait. She explains to Colossal:

For me, using the form of dogs is the most appropriate, highest-resolution method to materialize what I think of my inner self. Materializing myself in various states is about having an honest, direct dialogue with myself. In facing myself, I would like to be passionate, free, and loving, like a dog. My works are also about myself looking at myself. In that sense, I might have been making an existence that is sometimes beside myself, a little distance in other times, watching over myself.

Sano is based in the Tohoku region of the Miyagi prefecture and spends her summers creating the lively creatures with fur chiseled in visible gouges. As the weather turns cold, she shifts her practice to embroidery and conveys the adorable faces in plush tufts of thread.

You can see Sano’s carved characters as part of a group exhibition running August 14 to 29 at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California. Otherwise, check out her Instagram for glimpses into her process and to see some of the real-life pups that inspire her works.

 

 

 



Art

Pockets of Landscapes and Still Lifes Adorn Subjects in Lavish Portraits by Aniela Sobieski

February 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Oil on panel, 8 x 10 inches. All images © Aniela Sobieski, shared with permission

Aniela Sobieski is intrigued by “the human impulse to self-decorate,” a fascination that permeates every aspect of her portraiture. Evoking both baroque paintings and contemporary fashions, Sobieski adorns women and the occasional dog with elaborate makeup and sculptural accessories placed conspicuously to mask the subject’s features. She seamlessly maps classic still lifes and sparse landscapes directly onto the sitter’s face, often highlighting the natural shape of the eye and coating the figure’s lips in bold red.

Apparent within Sobieski’s oil paintings is a symbiotic relationship between the subject and their lavish accessories: while a pair of daisies or bucolic scene serve as expressions of identity and emotion, the subject “provides them with an environment,” the artist writes. “It is my hope that these relationships speak to the tendency for nature and the human psyche to mirror each other.”

Sobieski, who is based in St. Paul, has a solo show at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee that’s slated for this October. Until then, follow her poetic artworks on Instagram, and pick up a print from Etsy. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Bird Eyes,” oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

“Daisy Eyes,” oil on linen, 8 x 10 inches

 

 



Photography

A New Volume Compiles Five Decades of the Pudgy, Curious, and Drowsy Pups in Walter Chandoha's Photographs

September 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

Mixed-breed and the photographer’s daughter Maria, Long Island, New York, 1956. All images © Estate of Walter Chandoha, courtesy of Taschen, shared with permission

Dubbed the 20th century’s greatest pet photographer, the late Walter Chandoha was renowned for capturing the unique personalities of furry companions. From black-and-white candid shots to those posed in the studio, Taschen’s new volume, Dogs, compiles five decades worth of capricious, curious, and playful pups. The 296-page book is a sequel to Cats, which similarly collected hundreds of the iconic photographer’s images, and is edited by Reuel Golden.

In his early years, Chandoha served as a combat photographer during World War II. He went on to be prolific across mediums, having written dozens of books and captured more than 225,000 images during his lifetime, many of which were used in magazines and advertisements.

Check out some of our favorite shots of pudgy bulldogs and blue-eyed Weimaraners below, and pre-order a copy of Dogs, which will be released in October, from Taschen or Bookshop.

 

Pugs, Long Island, New York, 1957

Weimaraner, Long Island, New York, 1955

 

 



Design

Build Your Own Trick-Savvy Dog with This DIY Robotics Kit

September 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Petoi, shared with permission

The days of expensive training lessons for your dogs have come to an end. Thanks to Petoi (previously), you can build your own robotic pup that’s programmed to perform basic commands from the get-go. The agile canine, named Bittle, moves just like a live animal would and because of its spring-loaded upper legs, can navigate bumpy terrain and flip itself over when it lands on its back.

Fitting in the palm of a hand, the automated design is battery operated and can be taught new tricks by uploading new programs you can write yourself. The mechanics and color appear similar to Boston Dynamics’ famous utilitarian robot Spot, a substantially larger machine with a much heftier price tag.

With a few weeks remaining, the project’s Kickstarter campaign already has exceeded its fundraising goal, but there are rewards available for those hoping to pick up a new sidekick. To follow the design group’s projects, head to Instagram and Twitter, and watch the robotic creatures in action on YouTube.