John Dolan, a fixture on the streets of Shoreditch in East London for the past three years, acquired George in an exchange for the price of a can of beer.
The Staffordshire bull terrier became John’s constant companion, sitting patiently next to him as John sketched streetscapes in an effort to pass his time on the streets. With George by his side, John struck up conversations with passers-by about his life and as well as his relationship with his sidekick.
John soon began to sell his drawings, and in the process, established himself as one of east London’s most recognisable artists, and now has two exhibitions and an autobiographical book under his belt.
John credits George with helping him to realise his artistic potential and enabling him to escape from a 20-year cycle of prison recidivism and homelessness. His current show, John and George—set in a room recreated to resemble the street the pair used to occupy every day—presents 700 drawings of George. It is, John says, an homage to the one thing in his life he could rely on totally.
Dolan says he uses repetition to encourage viewers to hit pause in their busy lives and take a moment to see things in a different way. The subtle variations in each drawing also document a quiet and unassuming friendship.
John and George is on show at the Howard Griffin Gallery until 17 August.
Proceeds from the exhibition are being donated to The Big Issue Foundation and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
The biography, John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life, is available now.
We are thrilled to introduce Dog-Friendly, a collection of city guides for dog-loving people, created together with our long-time contributor, photographer Winnie Au, and fellow enthusiasts, indie publisher Hoxton Mini Press. Available for purchase here.
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Have you ever imagined Amy Winehouse or Nick Cave as a Chihuahua, Neil Young as a Vizsla, or PJ Harvey as an Afghan hound? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette has done through his unique illustration project, blending beloved, iconic music legends, both past and present, with their dog counterparts. Pack of Dogs, our first foray into book publishing, is a celebration of pup and pop culture for music and dog lovers alike.
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