Symbolism and awesome dogs.

I was asked to do this portrait by my cousin as a gift for one of his best friends.  Anya is a pitbull that was rescued from a dog fighting operation of some sort.  Humans do a lot of dumb stuff but this kind of treatment of animals strikes me as one of the more insidious and heartless ways we humans like to kick our world in the face. Anya was what’s known as a bait dog–it’s a heinous process that I won’t describe here, but this pup was saved from a horrible existence and is now happy and healthy.  As far as I understand it she’s still a bit skittish (understandably), but upon warming up to any strangers, is a loving, and loyal hound.

Anya.  11" x 17", pen and ink on smooth Bristol.
Anya. 11″ x 17″, pen and ink on smooth Bristol.

Like most sane humans, this practice makes me sick but it’s also uplifting to see an animal that’s made it out alive.  The thick bold lines that outline her profile signify her strength, her rough exterior, and her toughness.  The soft and smooth lines on the inside are representative of her true demeanor as a loving companion.  And the broken chain I think is pretty self explanatory.

As an artist it’s really gratifying to be able to bring some level of joy into a person’s life through my own creativity and work.  It’s also rad to have creative license to attempt to capture the emotion and story behind a pup like this one.  The paradoxical nature of the joy I get from visually writing this dog’s story and the pain and torture this poor animal has had to endure are not lost on me though

.  But I think we can all learn something here about finding joy in pain.  That might be a bit too metaphysical for this blog, but it’s food for thought anyway…

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