"I DONT know anything about art, but I know what I like."
Thus spoke, amongst others, the inimitable King of Angst Woody Allen, perhaps summing up, in this concise and pithy phrase, what most of us feel when confronted with the latest piece of conceptual art. Of course, art is largely a matter of taste. Fans of Damien Hirst can feast their eyes upon half a sheep, whilst Tracy Emmins followers can rest their weary heads on her unmade bed, whilst others may subscribe to the Daily Mail view of artistic interpretation and simply like proper pictures.
But there is a growing movement from these very shores to rival the Most-Modernists, the Impressionists and the Psueds: Animal Art. No, were not back to Damien Hirsts pickled fauna this is art created by animals and rapidly becoming the must-have eye-catching accessory for the smartest living rooms. Its name is simple and in itself, a tribute to the master of abstract: Pawcassos.
Pawcassos is, effectively, an artistic offshoot of the Leicester-based animal charity Wiccaweys Rescued Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs, run by Sarah Carey and her partner Paul Gill. The artists themselves are Bran the Border Collie and Jake the German Spitz, two very unassuming creative geniuses who claim to create their masterpieces just for fun!
Paul Gill explains: "The seeds for 'Pawcasso's Animal Art' started a few years ago when some rather interesting patterns on the kitchen floor after a particularly muddy walk with our dogs piqued our interest. We wondered if our doggies were capable of making these patterns in glorious Technicolor! We went out and bought paper, and some harmless paw friendly poster paints. To our surprise, the dogs took to painting like a duck to water. The pictures looked great, but we surmised that we were a bit mad in letting the dogs do the painting! They didnt mind they have a wealth of creativity to express!
"We kept coming back to the idea, and certain dogs - like Jake, a German Spitz - thoroughly enjoys putting his paint covered paw onto paper! Because each dog has different sized paws, weight, walking style, and of course their own personality, each dog has an individual style! From the minimalist style of Jake to the frenzied style of Bran, each dog really brings their pawsonality come to the fore in their paintings! So because every painting is unique, they make an unusual gift - one which will always give surprise and delight when opened."
A proportion of the money raised from the sale of paintings goes directly to the well being of dogs rescued by Wiccaweys and to enable to charity to continue its valuable work.
How better for a rescue to raise funds, than to let the doggies help out?" adds Sarah, with a cheeky grin. "Jake and Bran, our canine artists here at Pawcasso's Animal Art are only too happy to take commissions and make your individual unique one-of-a-kind painting!"
"Thats right," adds Paul, "Not only does it give them the opportunity to splash about in some paint, they can go out and buy some luxury bones with the money."
Not only are the prints and pictures unique, but also they're highly decorative and help out the dogs that made them. Pawcasso's Animal Art is the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for the dog lover or art critic who thinks they've seen it all!
Damien Who, by the way? CARRY THE CARD
Of course, Wiccaweys are committed to the serious business of animal welfare, and to this end, they have come up a simple, yet extremely effective way of ensuring that pets do not suffer if their owner has an accident.
The Pet Alert Cards are the idea of Sarah Carey, and are designed to ensure that if there is an accident or emergency, your pets will not be forgotten. If your pet is with you and also suffers injury, the instructions on the card will make it easy for your pets to get quick and timely treatment.
The card features the names, addresses and telephone numbers of two nominees and your Vet so that assistance can be called upon immediately in the event of an emergency. The card is credit card sized, and is designed to be carried in your wallet or purse, rather like a Donor Card. Each card is laminated and hardwearing, and costs £4.99.
More details are available from the newly launched 'Pawcasso's Animal Art' website, which can be found at tp://www.pawcassosanimalart.com