Ask The Fiddler #10: For the Artist, A Dog’s Life

by
Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

A friend has purchased a painting he claims was done by a dog. It’s nothing great, but still … I think he was scammed. Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Walt in Albuquerque

Dear Walt,

sammydogpainter-200A dog that paints pictures? Come on. It takes forever to get a mutt to sit, or quit chewing pillows, or keep its nose out of interesting roadside crap. Who could possibly believe dogs have artistic capabilities?

But then again. Look at it from the dog’s point of view. Would Leonardo do a chapel ceiling for a biscuit? Do you think Picasso would even pick up a brush knowing his masterpiece would earn nothing more than a chewy stick? Forget it. No smart dog is going to all that trouble for a cheap treat.

Well, a few, maybe.

Believe it or not, some dogs turn out paintings that sell for big bucks, a thousand and more. There is even a kit for owners who want to see if Jack Russell is the next Jackson Pollock. In several cases I noticed, profits go to support worthy causes.

Hallie is a very special artist, a blind Dachshund who learned to paint before losing her sight. With a little help, she’s still at it. Hallie has attracted quite a following and has a number of paintings for sale. The proceeds benefit Purple Heart Dog Rescue.

An interesting question arises. Do these artistic dogs have any idea what they’re doing? Not that the question ever stood in the way of a human artist … just wondering.

As it happens, in a scientific experiment two hundred dogs were exposed to a photograph of the Mona Lisa over a period of eight months to determine their reactions. It was found that dogs do, indeed, have a reaction when presented with an image of the Mona Lisa. A reaction was defined as licking or chewing.

What about color choices? Do these canine artists differentiate? Scientists, of course, have poked into the matter. Dogs see yellows, greens and blues. Russian researchers recently tested color sensitivity in dogs and found that they (the dogs) memorized a color associated with raw meat. (Really, what won’t dogs do for raw meat? It’s like waving a wad of cash at a politician. You call that science? More accurately, the study shows what everybody already knows, dogs can be bribed).

Elsewhere I read that dogs can distinguish shades of gray. The article didn’t say how many.

But for those who are totally out to exploit little poochie for the big bucks, art may not be the best path. Send the mutt to acting school. The big paydays are in film and TV. The dog actor Rin Tin Tin earned the equivalent (today) of $78,000 per week during 26 film roles. Lassie pulled in what would be over $50,000 per week today. Moose, on the Frasier TV series, earned $10,000 per episode.

However, let’s get back to the validity and value of dog-created art. There are variations in style that should be taken into consideration. It’s a matter of intention. The pro intends to paint while the dilettante is merely seeking approval, a sell-out to human prompting.

The true dog artist holds a brush in its teeth and dabs. It is a true obsession and the dog will paint regardless of what the critics say. The wannabes, on the other hand, randomly create “art” by walking on a canvas with paint on their paws. Heck, a gerbil could do that.

PS – Please don’t write in to defend the talents of your gerbil. Some of my best friends are gerbils and I wouldn’t say an unkind word to hurt their little feelings. But, I am not going to believe a gerbil is a good painter. Tell me it can warble a falsetto Star Spangled Banner, OK, but painting, I seriously doubt it.

Yours truly,

The Fiddler


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


image: jscms.jrn.columbia.edu


The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III