The Portraitsphere: Marz Jr.

Chloe Malle's Dog Jerry by Marz Jr.

Today’s journey into the Portraitsphere features an illustration I happened to see recently in a fall issue of Vogue Magazine (yes, I’m a little behind), printed at about 2″ in height. The feature was “The Editor’s Eye”, which is an inside look at just what a particular editor personally likes/owns.

This installment was all about Vogue’s Social Editor Chloe Malle, and the subject of this portrait is her beloved Goldendoodle Jerry by illustrator Marz Jr. And based on the other embellished items shown in the feature, it appears Marz Jr. nailed her style with the crown, table, tassels and fringed setting. One of her other favorite items, a pair of Charlie McCarthy salt and pepper shakers, initially did seem a bit out of place…until I realized that her grandfather was Edgar Bergen, and her father was Louis Malle, and so her mother is Candace Bergen. Like I said, I’m a little behind.

Here are a few more examples of Marz Jr.’s work:

Illustrations by Marz Jr.

Thanks to Marz Jr. for permission to use his work in this post. To see more of his work, visit his website here.

Architecture for Dogs

Hara Design Institute

Architecture for Dogs is a very cool collection of structures designed by some incredible architects and designers. Not necessarily houses, these projects for dogs examine other variables and dilemmas. Within each project description you’ll read about design considerations that are normally never addressed, such as the goal of equalizing scale so that a small dog can be on par with its people. Or incorporating the use of your clothes so that your dog can feel comforted when you’re not around, aw. Or building with aluminum tubes to help cool down an otherwise too-hot pal. And the best part: the blueprints for all 13 projects are available to download for FREE and you can build any of them yourself! What’s better than that?

Architecture for Dogs

Designer Kenya Hara is the Director of Architecture for Dogs. Among other things, his work includes art direction for the awesome Japanese store Muji (which I always make time to visit at the JetBlue terminal at JFK), and he also designed both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games. As he explains:

“Architecture for Dogs, invented by architects and designers, is an extremely sincere collection of architecture and a new medium, which make dogs and their people happy. By looking at the diagrams or pictures or watching the videos, people all over the world can make these themselves. Dogs are people’s partners, living right beside them, but they are also animals that humans, through crossbreeding, have created in multitudes of breeds. Reexamining these close partners with fresh eyes may be a chance to reexamine both human beings themselves and the natural environment. As our first project, we present 13 pieces of architecture. Please take the time to carefully examine the details of these elaborately designed ingenious structures, and because it’s free to download the blueprints, if you find one you like, make it yourself for your dog.”

The Architecture for Dogs website is very entertaining, dogs walking through and interacting with the various structures. Each project includes a description by its designer, info on the designer, a difficulty rating and estimate of time to complete, and also a helpful diagram animation of putting it together. Even if you don’t see yourself as the DIY type, it’s worth taking a look at all of the various approaches and thought processes involved. You might even be inspired to dream up something yourself.

Visit Architecture for Dogs here. And turn up the volume!

Dogs of NYC Project

Louise_Ma_illustration_02

If you’ve ever wondered what the most popular dog breeds or dog names might be in New York, there’s a clever batch of interactive tools you can play with to find out. Part of National Public Radio’s WNYC website, this project is really fun to sniff around and just see what’s what.

There’s a map that will show you what the most common names are for females and males, and where they live is indicated by label size. And after a look at this, I’m thinking—sheesh—they’d better rename the place “New Yorkie”…

WNYC's Dogs of NYC Interactive Map

There are also lists of top ten names for females and males, but they don’t stop there. Lists of names have also been compiled for many different categories such as: actors, mythology, animals, foods, drinks, cartoons, etc. To the right of each name, the number of dogs with that same name is shown. And not only that—click on the name and you’ll get a breakdown by the various breeds with that same name. Neat-o.

Dogs of NYC Top Ten Food Names for Dogs

Besides factoids, there are also some games and you can even type in your dog’s name and breed to order a t-shirt with the results. I found out that my dog Chappie is even more unique than I thought: there’s not another one in all of New York City!

To visit WNYC’s Dogs of NYC website, click here. Illustrations by Louise Ma/WNYC

The Portraitsphere

Zachary's Jack Russell

Today begins yet another new category here on Dogs Make Everything Better: the Portraitsphere! It’s going to be a wide assortment of great dog portraits from near and far. There are so many great dog portraits out there, and not just professional ones but also simple ones scrawled onto napkins and notebooks and everywhere else…and I want to track them down.

First to be featured: this entry that I saw a few years ago at the state fair—and had won a ribbon!—drawn in charcoal by a ninth-grader named Zachary. I love the wonky ears, I love the kind eyes, and I love the smudginess and erased bits, the evidence of let’s-start-over. But what I especially love is that this is probably a very special dog in Zachary’s life and it’s absolutely captured here.

Three cheers for the Portraitsphere!

Cory Booker Saves Freezing Dog

Mayor Cory Booker saves freezing dog

Newark, New Jersey super mayor Cory Booker is in the news today for saving a freezing dog after seeing a tweet from a local TV news reporter. This is one guy who really jumps in and saves the day, having saved people from burning homes and shoveling snow for residents of his city. Once this pup was warm and safe he even went on to personally shred the careless owners. Go Cory!

From the story on mashable.com:
“This is brutal weather,” Booker told WABC. “This dog is shaking really bad and you just can’t leave your dogs out here on a day like this and go away and expect them to be OK. Hypothermia on any animal including a human animal will set in pretty quickly. So this is very sad. You can just feel the dog shaking pretty badly.”

Booker put the dog in a heated police car, called its owners and scolded them for leaving the dog outside. The owners said they were away from home and didn’t know how the dog, named Cha Cha, got out of the house. They apologized to Booker.

Check out the story here on Mashable, including the tweets that led to the rescue here, or the WABC news story here.

Sculptor Jonathan Bowling

Hound 2012 by Jonathan Bowling

Not long ago I was visiting a letterpress friend at his shop, which included a separate building where he keeps his cabinets full of metal type. This building also includes workspace for different artists, with all kinds of interesting things going on like glassblowing, painting, hammering, melting stuff, weaving things, you name it. For me, it was sort of a trip back to my dad’s workshop and my days at California College of the Arts (which used to be called California College of Arts and Crafts back then, and I wish it still was). While my major was design, there was a lot of crossover in course curriculum and campus layout so you were always exposed to all sorts of other work (and the fine artists always seemed to be having much more fun than design students).

While I was visiting this studio building, the work of sculptor Jonathan Bowling was on display. Now I’ll be honest: in the past I haven’t really loved this kind of welded-together-found-object art because I usually found it to be kind of spooky and creepy. And normally when I would see a sculpture, I would first see the “parts” and then have to figure out the “whole”. When I look at Jonathan’s work however, I first see the “whole” and then I have fun looking closer to see just what “parts” that he used to arrive there. As the Monkees say, “now I’m a believer.” Another thing is that his life-size or larger than life-size finished pieces seem to really capture the spirit and personality of the animal, like his Hound 2012 shown above. It seems playful to me, almost animated. Sigh, I want it.

Detail, Hound 2012 by Jonathan Bowling

In addition to the sculpture shown here, there were lots of other pieces on display like beautiful horses, bulls, and a big spider (shown hanging in the top photo). You can see more of Jonathan’s amazing work on his website. Well worth the visit.

Update: After viewing the post and checking out my blog, Jonathan kindly sent me this great shot of his sweet dog Maci in her birthday hat!

Jonathan's dog Maci