Uncover the Secret & Surreal Lives of Canines in Hats

Pet photographer J.B. Shepard has many canine lovers questioning what hidden treasures could also be ready to be found on the backside of their recycling bins.

Shepard’s surreal picture sequence, “Paper Hats; Whimsical Portraits of the As soon as Discarded” shines a enjoyable new gentle on the fun of adopting a furry buddy from a shelter. That includes a large ranging solid of canine characters, Paper Hats attire these cute creatures in elaborate costumes crafted from some very sudden supplies.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

The gathering of Baroque impressed ruff collars, colourful prime hats, geometrically patterned stetsons, and steam punk model goggles featured in Paper Hats had been all produced from trash — recycled put up shopper paper merchandise, to be actual.

iHeartDogs sat down with J.B. Shepard to debate his critically acclaimed canine portrait sequence and be taught extra about what he has deliberate for Paper Hats.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Let’s speak large image – what’s the purpose of Paper Hats?

Like most portrait artists, the first goal of my pictures is to get viewers to see our topics from a unique angle — to indicate that every one anybody must shine is a second probability.

With Paper Hats we’re encouraging of us to have a look at rescue canine in another way and if they’ve the means, assist us increase funds wanted to get spring some nice canine from shelters and into loving perpetually properties.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

What rescue are you working with?

Print gross sales from Paper Hats profit a improbable 501c3 nonprofit all volunteer operated canine rescue and foster group known as Bella’s Bully Buddies. They’re a comparatively small group, however they do completely wonderful work. I’m always floored by the dedication of their volunteers and what Bella’s fosters are capable of accomplish. I’ve watched them tackle some actually onerous instances, canine that many different rescues may quit on as misplaced causes, and rework them into fabulous companions.

We raised simply shy of $5,000 for Bella’s canine from artwork gross sales throughout our first run of Paper Hats. Now that the sequence is in its second yr, we’re hoping we are able to make an excellent higher impression and provides much more canine an opportunity to search out their perpetually properties.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

How can iHeartDogs followers assist?

Proceeds from Paper Hat artwork gross sales profit Bella’s Bully Buddies. Paper Hat prints will be bought on-line at K9RT.com.

Readers may donate on to Bella’s Bully Buddies from their Fb Web page. From what I perceive Fb doesn’t cost any transaction charges for donations made by their web page. As a registered 501c3 non revenue, I consider direct donations are tax deductible – however you may wish to test together with your accountant to make sure.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Inform us in regards to the sequence. Why are you making hats our of trash? And what do these costumes need to do with rescue canine?

If you boil it down, how we strategy costume making is basically not all that completely different from what rescues throughout the nation are doing day-after-day all around the world. We’re simply working in a parallax medium.

A canine might arrive at a shelter undesirable, however the opinions of the unique proprietor don’t diminish the worth of the canine or its capability to deliver pleasure to a different household.

Once we design new hats we’re not making the newspaper or cardboard extra precious. The potential was at all times there. All we’re doing is making it simpler for folk to acknowledge that these supplies and canine nonetheless have the capability to make of us completely satisfied – if they’ve an opportunity.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

A few of these items are fairly sophisticated. Do they take loads of time to make?

Relying on what we’re making a few of these items can take awhile to place collectively. Sometimes we’re taking a look at anyplace from three to 5 days to finish a hat. Lots of our papier-mâché designs are assembled utilizing a 5 step course of, requiring us to interrupt for drying a number of occasions throughout building. Simply harvesting supplies can take a superb little bit of time, because the paper must be clipped and sorted by shade and form.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Wouldn’t it’s simpler to only purchase costumes?

It undoubtedly could be simpler to purchase costumes. And, if we had been within the enterprise of promoting the costumes, that would definitely be a extra pragmatic strategy. However to get individuals to have a look at issues in another way requires effort – each on our half and that of the viewer. If we’re asking individuals to vary their perspective we now have to be keen to no less than meet them half method.

There’s extra to artwork than self expression. If we wish to convey new ideas and concepts we now have a duty to make that new perspective as accessible as potential. And on the finish of the day, I’m completely satisfied to do issues the onerous method for the easy proven fact that the worth of the narrative is larger than my time.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

How did you provide you with the thought for Paper Hats?

It’s type of humorous, once we began this mission we didn’t begin with paper. We solely arrived right here by classes we realized whereas engaged on one other mission.

We initially got down to {photograph} pit bull fosters wearing elaborate Baroque and Elizabethan impressed costumes. We thought it could be attention-grabbing to juxtapose what some may understand as a rough-and-tumble breed with the luxurious materials and complex designs that the interval was identified for.

Granted that’s not an particularly unusual narrative approach, however it may be very efficient and is an strategy that many pet photographers have leveraged in some very impactful methods. Sophie Gamand’s sequence “Flower Energy, Pit Bulls of the Revolution” is a good instance of this story telling approach leveraged in an excellent method. Flower Energy got here out throughout a time when breed particular laws was nonetheless an enormous downside in lots of states, and I feel this sequence went alongside method in the direction of altering perceptions about blocky headed breeds and in flip, saved the lives of loads of harmless canine.

As some Maryland counties nonetheless has some fairly damaging and discriminatory breed particular laws on the books, we had been hoping our costume sequence may assist deliver some extra consideration to the problem and sway the minds of voters who may nonetheless be on the fence about America’s canine.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

The unique idea sounds prefer it might have been enjoyable. Why did you pivot to Paper Hats?

The shift in theme wasn’t one thing we had deliberate. We had already completed a couple of very nice staffy sized doublets and robes once we began prototyping the primary ruff collar. When you’ve by no means tried to make a correct ruff you could not have guessed it, however stitching a correct ruff collar is kind of the duty. The folds and cuts require a reasonably subtle degree of precision. Which will be problematic contemplating the expense and fragile nature of the supplies. So, we needed to ensure we had the design 100% down earlier than we began working with the ultimate supplies.

However once we noticed the primary prototype come collectively in newspaper, we knew we had been on to one thing particular. It instantly simply felt proper.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Wait – so that you simply scrapped the entire costumes you had already made?

It wasn’t a choice we got here to evenly. We had already invested a superb sum of money in supplies and time within the unique items. However we realized whereas the flowery materials had been enjoyable and attention-grabbing, they weren’t very canine.

However to take one thing that another person has thrown away and switch it into one thing higher, one thing valuable, one thing that’s liked — even when only for a fleeting second — that’s the epitome of canine.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

That’s a phenomenal sentiment for a canine!

Nicely, it’s not such as you see canine scribbling down manifestos or musing on philosophy. However when you watch how a canine interacts with the world round them, particularly in what they take pleasure in or no less than are motivated by, it may possibly lend a deeper understanding of their perspective.

My Boggle (Boxer/Beagle combine) George is consistently reminding me of this. I purchase George new toys and chews pretty usually and loads of these will not be low-cost. Like most canine house owners, I’m completely satisfied to spend a bit of cash simply to ensure that he stays stimulated, wholesome and secure.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

However have you learnt what his favourite factor on the earth is? Little bits of string.

George will pull the threads off of the tug ropes we purchase him (or digicam bag straps, if I’m not paying consideration) and simply carry slobbery bits of string round dangling from his mouth. To you and me these threads will not be a toy – they’re simply trash. However George doesn’t care what you and I take into consideration the string, he attributes worth to the string as a result of he enjoys it.

Watching George over the previous couple of years, I’ve developed a sure appreciation for his Absurdist outlook on life. And, whenever you begin to see issues from a canine’s perspective, the way in which we should always strategy the sequence turns into type of apparent.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

And, you assume George would approve of Paper Hats?

I can’t assist however really feel like if George was able to making these costumes, that he wouldn’t use new or costly supplies. As an alternative, I feel he’d use scavenged supplies, issues he discovered and loved.

Which is the primary cause why we by no means dye or paint the hats. If George selected to work with an merchandise as a result of it’s one thing that sparks pleasure, why would he cowl it up? It’s not sufficient to make one thing new and enjoyable from these upcycled supplies. We wish viewers to acknowledge the transformation occurring proper in entrance of them and make it a bit of simpler for individuals to appreciate that every one any of us must shine is a second probability.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

 J.B. Shepard is a self-taught artist and founding father of the Puptrait Studio. The Puptrait Studio is offered for personal canine portrait commissions and industrial pet pictures assignments. Studio hours are by appointment solely.

 The second installment within the Paper Hats sequence can be launched on March 22, 2019. For occasion particulars please checkout the occasions web page on the Puptrait Studio’s web site.

 Prints can be found for buy on-line at K9RT.com. Proceeds from Paper Hat print gross sales profit Bella’s Bully Buddies.

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