Dog Art Today

I cannot find the original blog entry or I would provide a link. Instead, highjacked, with good intention…

Remembering Stephen Huneck

Posted: 11 Jan 2010 11:07 AM PST

I never knew Stephen Huneck. I never went to Dog Mountain or purchased one of his prints.  But I feel greatly indebted to him and I am deeply saddened that he ended his life last week.  Four years ago, I started making collages of dogs.  I sold a few on Ebay and realized I needed a website for my work.  I did research on how other dog artists presented their art and I discovered Stephen Huneck.  This discovery changed my life, for through his Dog Chapel, his series of books, his prints, his woodcarving, through the entirety of the dog art empire he created, I saw that people were looking for a way to express their dog-love through art, and maybe there was a way I could make that into my own life’s work.  His example gave me the courage to keep going, to discover other dog artists and to begin my blog to celebrate the history dogs have had as muses and companions of some of the greatest artists of every century, and as subjects in some of the most prized artworks in the world.  He made me see dog art as a legitimate endeavor, not a crafty hobby.  And for that I will forever be grateful to him.

I regret that I never dropped him a note to say this.  I regret that I didn’t feature him more extensively on Dog Art Today.  I felt like he was so established, so successful, that he didn’t need any help.  He had this whole riddle of how to make money from your art figured out.  As news has come out that he and his wife recently had to put there custom-made home on the market, and then, last week, lay off employees, it is clear that no one has it all figured out, that this economy is destroying people, literally.  And that sometimes the sensitivity and brain chemistry that gives one the talent to be the kind of artist whose work people want to hang on their walls because it is so funny and perfect and joyful, also makes the pain of a cold January in devastating times simply unbearable.

Tim Quinlivan is a regular reader of this blog.  Upon hearing the news of Stephen Huneck’s death he sent me this note.  With Tim’s permission I am sharing it with you…

I was so saddened to see your post about Stephen Huneck.  When I first saw his work back in ’98 I was so struck by his signature style, his story and the depth of his inspiration I knew I had to have one of his pieces.  So on our bedroom wall – a surprise gift for my wife’s 45th birthday – hangs one of his original limited edition woodcuts, Menage a Trois, a faithful depiction of how we’d begun sleeping with the first of now three Boxer between us.

That single piece of art has brought us so much joy over the years – seeing it literally every waking day, though the dark days of losing one beloved friend and then the joy of bringing another new, crazy clown into our pack – it’s been a testament to all that inspired his work.

I simply cannot fathom the circumstances of his death and am struggling to put it into any kind of context – for someone who brought so much pleasure into so many people’s lives to have been so despondent is difficult to comprehend.  So I will just say best to you and, as Warren Zevon so aptly reminded us, “Enjoy every sandwich.”
The Warren Zevon quote comes from his last appearance on the David Letterman Show when he knew he was dying of terminal lunge cancer…

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