My Dog Sighs – Free as in artist

My Dog Sighs – Free as in artist

By Arden de Raaij

UK based artist My Dog Sighs has been around for quite a while! He’s well known for being a generous soul with his FreeArtFriday’s project and of course, for his beautiful eyes (the painted ones, we can’t comment on his actual eyes. silly!). As the 7th edition of Upfest is almost upon us and My Dog Sighs kicked it off with the first mural and the flyer, this was as good an excuse as any to interview this great artist!

My Dog Sighs - Upfest 2015
My Dog Sighs – Upfest 2015

“I like the idea that many will walk past without even spotting it but someone will see it and hopefully make some sort of connection. Enough to want to pick it up and covet it.”

For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?

I’m my dog sighs, street and urban artist based on the South coast of the uk. I’ve been working on the street for about 12 years now. Probably best known for my freeartfriday project, naive Everyman, my painted crushed cans and glassy reflective eyes.

My Dog Sighs
My Dog Sighs

You’ve seen to have made quite the name for yourself (well deserved, I might add) the last couple of years. Was there a sort of ‘turning point’ into your career or did it go gradually?

I’d spent 8 or 9 years happily muddling on running street art as a hobby. Like most street artists back then I ran two lives, day job and family man by day and street urchin by night, but three events very close together changed that. The BBC culture show picked up on the freeartfriday project and ran a feature, the MSN homepage and Huffington post did a feature and Charlie from Pure Evil got in contact and offered to show some of my new ‘can men’.

From there things went pretty mental. I quickly went part time in my day job then gave in my notice and started painting full time. My feet haven’t hit the ground since.

If I remember well you’re not also an artist, but also a big (street) art aficionado.  Could you tell us a bit about other artists that give you inspiration?

I don’t know about aficionado but I’ve been actively following the scene for a long time now and have built up many good friends through street art. My own work is fairly melancholic so I’m often drawn to artists with a similar feel, Borondo, This is limbo and Herakut all melt my heart but that’s not to say I don’t appreciate the wit of the perfectly placed street lyric of Mobster, the organic graff of Rocket01, the stencil cutting genius of Snik, the perfect simplicity of Pahnl or the iconic anti brand Toasters campaign. It’s Upfest this weekend too so it’s a great opportunity to get out there and see who’s making waves.

You’ve been doing ‘free art’ projects for quite a while. When did this start and what makes you keep on doing this?

I had passed the need to territorially piss before I joined the scene so wanted a way that interacted in urban decay of the public space but without permanently hitting walls. My answer was to find rubbish on the street, bring it to life and pop it back out on the street for people to interact with and possibly take away. Over time the random rubbish evolved into crushed cans and the faces turned from cartoon to more realistic.

My Dog Sighs
My Dog Sighs

I still get a massive buzz from producing a piece and taking it out to ‘fend for itself’. I like the idea that many will walk past without even spotting it but someone will see it and hopefully make some sort of connection. Enough to want to pick it up and covet it.

This weekend I’m upping the anti and putting out three huge painted oil drums across Bristol for people to hunt for. I love creating that buzz and if that means putting the odd piece out for free then that works for me.

What can we expect from Mydogsighs in the future?

Well this weekend I’m trying something new. A pair of my ubiquitous reflective eyes but with only one of them on the wall! (You’ll have to head to Bedminster to find out!) After that, more of what I love, cans, walls, canvas and installations. The more I do, the more ideas I have for the next piece. I’m keen to expand my hug project, painting my huge Everyman in as many cities as I can; the eyes have recently evolved into sweeping shoals so I’d like to explore that more and I’m building a collection of some beautiful old cans that need crushing and bringing to life.

My Dog Sighs
My Dog Sighs

About My Dog Sighs

My Dog Sighs’s style is characterised by the combination of melancholic and often naive portraiture with the use of found materials including abandoned food cans.View profile