Year of the Dog

Year of the Dog

Context: Every Lunar New Year, I create a piece of art based on the year’s zodiac animal (see Year of the Rooster, MonkeyGoat, and Horse).

Year of the Dog: For this animal, instead of relegating the project to the beginning of the year, I’m going to create 12 pieces throughout the year. I will post the images as I complete them.


Lunar New Year diagram


Lunar New Year: Unlike the Gregorian calendar, this new year is astrologically defined as the new moon closest to vernal equinox. The first piece will start there, and each will fall on the subsequent 11 new moons.


Year of the Dog: 12 New Moons


Input: I picked 12 dogs I know and asked their humans for their take on the pooch’s personality and history.
Output: There will be two pieces for each new moon. One based on the dog, and another inspired by the dog.


New Moon No. 1
Scooter, age 17

No. 1: Based on Scooter
No. 1: Based on Scooter

Scooter is a Yorkshire terrier, a breed developed in north of England, where the textile and wool industry was strong at the turn of the century. The terriers were bred to be avid rat catchers to keep the rodent population in check in the mills.

No. 1: Inspired by Scooter's ancestry
No. 1: Inspired by Scooter’s ancestry


New Moon No. 2
Layla, age 16

No. 2: Based on Layla
No. 2: Based on Layla

Layla is a very relaxed whippet mix. The history of the whippet breed is filled with wild rabbits, English forests, Norman kings, and peasant breeders. On one level, it is the recognizable narrative of humans providing nurture to working animals. On a deeper level, it’s a haunting history of draconian social order in the 11th century and the dogs that paid a price for their existence. #wedontdeservedogs Thankfully, Layla is far, far away from the history of her ancestors.

No. 2: Inspired by Layla's ancestry
No. 2: Inspired by Layla’s ancestry



New Moon No. 3
Bear, age 16

Bear the dog — custom illustration
No. 3: Based on Bear, Super Mutt of the desert

Bear is a rescue that was found wandering the desert. His mom recently used a genetic test to determine his ancestry. He turned out to be descended from every type of dog except for what his mom thought he could be. Samoyed, German Shepherd, miniature Pinscher, Pekingese… it’s all there. I like to think that his motley crew of ancestors watched over him during his wandering days to make sure he ended up in a good home.

Relief print inspired by Bear’s ancestry is coming soon…


New Moon No. 4
Tobi, age 10

No. 4: Based on Tobi

Tobi is a Shih-tzu whose parents like to surround him with blankets and strawberry plush toys. In contrast to the pastel innocence, he has a darker, secretive side. A puppy-cam once caught him stealing undergarments, shoes, and other contraband. And the back injury or that itchy paw? Unless he personally invited you to join his Trust Circle Strawberry Club, he totally doesn’t know what you’re talking about. He would never lick his paw.

Relief print inspired by Tobi’s ancestry is coming soon…


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