Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tilamook Cheddar, canine artist

While in Brooklyn last weekend, I had the good fortune to meet up with noted canine artist Tillamook Cheddar (to the left) and her son (on the right), Doc.

Tillamook has had many showings of her work, which she achieves through great intensity of effort. She even has an official biography out now, called Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist. You can order a copy online and receive it autographed by the dog's human companion F. Bowman Hastie III, as well as by Tillie herself.

From Tillie's MySpace page:
Tillamook Cheddar is a Jack Russell Terrier from Brooklyn, New York. Widely regarded as the world’s preeminent canine artist, she has already had fourteen solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Tillie is eight years old. In July 2005 the artist gave birth to six healthy puppies. Her son Doc Chinook Strongheart Cheddar lives with her in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Her biography, Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist by F. Bowman Hastie III, was published by Sasquatch Books in October 2006. The artist’s primary process is a dynamic color transfer technique. In preparation for each of Tillie's works, her assistants assemble a touch-sensitive recording device by affixing pigment-coated vellum to a sheet of lithograph paper backed by mat board. The artist takes the prepared “canvas” in her mouth and brings it to her workspace. Working on the outside surface, she applies pressure with teeth and claws in a methodic ritual marked by dramatic shifts in tempo and intensity. The resultant sharp and sweeping intersecting lines complement the artist’s delicate paw prints and subtle tongue impressions, composing an expressionistic image that is revealed on the paper beneath when she is finished. She works with shocking intensity, sometimes to the point of destroying her creations.
Tillie's work has grown more in subtlety and in thematic vision over her 8 years as an artist. Her early efforts exude a raw energy and primitivism, while the more recent work displays an ongoing engagement between the inner urges and the frayed outer edges. It appears from her web site that Tillie is going to venture into sculpture, as we see her purposefully gnawing on a plastic carrot.

You can see images of her work here and lots of articles here.

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