They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the newest artist to go viral certainly has people talking. The buzz around him is certainly justified. His abstract paintings are beautiful and sought-after. But at the risk of sounding judgmental, you wouldn’t believe it to look at him.
The artist, who goes by the name of Dagger, has only been on the art scene for a relatively short time – less than three years, in fact. He donates the proceeds he makes from his work to a charity close to his heart and has currently earned more than $1,000 for the organization.
Although some people might not take this artist seriously at first sight, that would be a mistake. His paintings are proving quite popular and as far as his professional status goes, he earns money on his canvases just like many other successful painters.
The painter uses the abstract art style, which came into use at the end of the 19th century. Abstract pieces are not limited by perspective or by faithfully duplicating reality and instead feature shapes that are representational or partial in nature.
Some artists have a lot of hype around their identity. English artist Banksy is known for… well, not being known. He – or she –keeps everything about him or her a mystery apart from a tag name and artistic activity. Dagger’s identity hype, however, is entirely down to him just being himself.
Dagger is called on to do commissions for people from across the world, and you can see why. The nature of his work uses lovely abstract brush patterns in flowing shapes that spill beautifully across the page. This is especially impressive when you take into account his true nature.
You see, Dagger – or Dagger II to give him his full name – is a dog. The three-year-old black Labrador retriever lives with his human Yvonne Dagger in Long Island, New York, and he’s the latest artist to take the internet by storm.
With a chic red beret as part of his painter’s ensemble, Dagger really looks the part, too. In the wake of his success, the canine also goes by another name – DogVinci – in homage, of course, to the renowned Renaissance artist and inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci.
DogVinci was training to become an assistance dog, but he was given an early release from the program because he was afraid of walking up and down stairs. He found a new home with Yvonne Dagger, and sniffed out a different way to contribute to those in need.
Dagger is an artist herself, and although DogVinci would usually lie down nearby when she was painting in her studio, one day he showed an active interest in her work. This was the start of the creative canine’s career in the art world.
“He always lays down next to me. But one day he was nudging me and I asked if he wanted to paint and his tail started wagging,” Dagger said. DogVinci had been trained to hold objects in his mouth as part of his service-dog requirements, and he seemed to take to the paintbrush naturally.
Dagger replaced simple commands such as “push” with “paint” and DogVinci took that as a cue to unleash his inner artist. His owner thinks she knows where his skill comes from. She says he has a “great desire to use the commands he learned… whenever he could.”
Since he took to his new career so well, Dagger made her furry friend a custom canine paintbrush that would fit in DogVinci’s mouth a little easier. A paper towel roll and some duct tape later, the painting pooch had a brush of his very own.
DogVinci’s art finds its way all across the world. “We’ve taken in so many orders for paintings. He was painting yesterday. He will be painting again today,” Dagger said. He’s a busy dog, but he’d probably be happy to know his work is well-loved.
As a canine artist, DogVinci may be a novelty, but it’s not just his doggy nature that’s drawing in fans. “We love the painting… It matches the room perfectly! Thank you so much! DogVinci, your painting traveled almost 3,000 miles to hang on my wall,” wrote satisfied customers Brittany King and Ethan on Facebook.
You can probably tell by his paintings that DogVinci likes to work with colors. “Dagger’s works are all abstract. He paints free and uninhibited,” his owner said. “He loves to pick the color paint he uses.”
DogVinci’s human sees his canine nature as an advantage when it comes to art. “I’m jealous in a way. I want to paint like [him], because he doesn’t know of anything else,” said Dagger. “He just knows what he knows and that brush stroke is just gonna land where it lands.”
And there’s no need to worry about the palette-loving pup being poisoned by his paints – they are all non-toxic so he can make as many masterpieces as he wants. “He’ll push down on the brush and wiggle it on the canvas, and I’ll just let him be,” Dagger said.
All of DogVinci’s earnings go towards the Canine Companions for Independence organization, which trains assistance dogs for disabled people. “That’s really a great thing for Dagger to be able to do. In his very four-legged, furry way, he’s able to give back to the people that were so kind to him,” Dagger told ABC News.
Although DogVinci didn’t complete his assistance training, he still found a way to use his skills to help others in his own way and bring happiness to so many people. His human thinks so too. “When [he] paints, he’s so happy. I truly believe this is where [DogVinci] wants to be,” said Dagger.