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.
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.
I’d like to begin with “Police Officer - German Shepherd”.
In today’s day and age, the public opinion of the police has been tarnished, especially where incidents of police brutality and misuse of power fills the news. While most artists, who are more activist in nature, might spend their efforts creating art around these injustices, I want to honor those who do their job with integrity.
My father was a NYC police officer, a detective in fact. I grew up respecting the police. I got an inside look at what officers had to go through, the sacrifice, risk, and a level of stress that few of us will ever know.
Artists and the Police are often at odds, and that was a bit true in our household as well. My father used to teach at the police academy in NYC that overlooked one of the buildings of the School of Visual Arts. Legend has it that he and other officers would often shake their heads at the strange artists (after all, I’m sure there were a fair share of artists who had trouble with the law). As the story goes, he was quoted as saying, “None of my kids will ever go to such a place.” Ironically, probably a good 10 years later, that was indeed the very art school I attended. He might not have understood art, but he was supportive of mine.
As a tribute to my dad (who passed away a few years ago) I used his badge and shield number in this piece. The name tag cites "Shepherd", not only references the German Shepherd breed but also the role of a shepherd (to serve, protect, help bring order and guidance.)
For the dog breed, I chose a German Shepherd, the breed most associated with K9 units. They are known for their high intelligence, loyalty, ability to be aggressive and ease of training.
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!