A quick catch up if you’re just joining in: for the next several posts, I’m going to be giving you an inside look into my new series “Uniform Pets”. I’ll be sharing the insights and inspiration behind each piece. You can see my previous post for my inspiration on the Police German Shepherd and the Girl Scout - Chihuahua.
The series as a whole came about as I was thinking about how we identify and categorize, specifically, dress code pertaining to jobs/organizations, as well as breeds of pets. We know a police officer in a crowd of people because we’ve identified their uniform. We’ve come to expect a certain dress code associated with our doctor’s visits. If he or she were dressed in a tie dyed t-shirt and shorts, we would question their abilities and professionalism. Yet, this same doctor might be dressed that way on their “off hours”. We don’t have the same feelings towards a Chihuahua and a Pit bull. One has become an icon of the Hollywood elite and the other has been mired in PR issues with news reports spreading incidents of their aggressiveness.
Most of the time, we don’t think about these connections. They are part of the operating system that runs below the surface. In this series, I hope to make viewers stop and think more about these connections and assumptions.
For this post I’m sharing about the inspiration behind the Firefighter Aussie Australian Shepherd.
I wasn’t one of those kids who said he wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. I think I always knew on some level that I wanted to be an artist. But coming from a long line of family in public service (police mostly), I understood the importance and sacrifice associated with this position. Firefighters are called to be courageous, self sacrificing servants for the safety and good of the public. I will never know such a burden or call myself, but I readily acknowledge that they are to be thanked and praised for their selfless, and often dangerous work.
This piece was created to honor them and all they do. I’ve only know a few firefighters personally, and they have always been people of integrity and service. And often the sacrifice they face can be great.
In 2014, my brother lost a close friend in the line of duty. Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas was killed when he became trapped while looking for victims in a high-rise fire in NY. He left behind his wife Nanette, and two young daughters.
I had the privilege of knowing Matt, through my brother. He was unassuming and in true form of a firefighter, a servant. He was an everyday man. And those like Matt, serve us everyday, risking their lives for our collective safety. They don’t run away from danger, but towards it.
In the case of September 11th 2001, the images of selfless firefighters (among others) running into the collapsing World Trade Center will forever be etched in my mind. They are true heroes.
So although this is a small offering, I hope this portrait honors all past and present firefighters.
I matched firefighter with an Australian Shepherd, or Aussie as they’re affectionately know as, because it’s been said that that breed is happiest when they have a job to do. They are wonderful family companions and a true working dog at heart.
As far as the two different color eyes (a genetic default known as Heterochromia Iridis) there are a few legends surround this, such that dogs with two different color eyes can view heaven and earth at the same time or that heterochromatic dogs are natural protectors. The truth behind why I chose to include this in my portrait is that I just thought it looked cool, and reminded me a bit of David Bowie :)
This piece was digitally painted using my iPad Pro, and app called Procreate and Photoshop on my Macbook Pro.
It's available in 3 options:
Do you know someone who would love this? Share it with them. Or better yet, why not get one as a gift to show your appreciation!