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Work / Opinion

Pentagram partner Angus Hyland chats to us about why dogs and design go together hand in paw

Pentagram partner Angus Hyland recently co-authored and designed The Book of the Dog, a sweet little look at man’s best friend through an art history lens. We had a chat with him about why hounds and creativity go hand in paw.

“The idea behind the book was that we wanted to take a popular subject and treat it with the a level of brevity whilst retaining an innate charm. It was great fun prompted by my love of both the subject and the medium. I don’t currently have a dog but in a week’s time we (the family) are going to visit a “blue” Italian greyhound puppy litter. They are miniature versions of the racing type; slightly smaller than a whippet. Dogs, like horses and birds, are great subjects for artists, unlike fish. 

“Although The Book of the Dog has an element of art history in its content, it isn’t aimed at an academic market. Rather it’s for dog lovers and culturally interested people who are curious about artistic interpretations of man’s best friend. Looking back through the book I particularly like Hockney’s portraits of his dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie, which are studies of love. 

“I wonder if maybe so many creative people are into dogs possibly because they are often not very good with people… In art and in life we project our ambitions, triumphs and anxieties on dogs; and yet they still come back for more. Artists have found dogs, especially sighthounds, an aesthetically intriguing subject and they often impose human qualities on them in their interpretations. Pets are famously therapeutic. When I was younger my family Basset Hound, whom it fell upon me to take for walks, helped me get through my O-levels stress free.” 

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Ana Elisa Egreja: Ritz e Cildo, 2009

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Constance Bachmann, Sophie, Boston Terrier, 2010

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Emma McClure: Going Home, 2008

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Grażyna Smalej: The Dogs, 2013

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Marion de Man: Mees with Muddy Feet, 2012