A Canine Perspective in Pop Culture

For this project, we were asked to leave a piece of ourselves on the space. That sort of lead can involve a lot of introspection and exploration of identity; you can get lost in the weeds trying to locate the right elements for the work. Of course, we also have many unique passions within us. Our engines burn on different fuel mixtures. We wanted to make sure that what we landed on was strongly evocative of a shared inspiration.

As animal lovers in generaland particularly in the case of our lovable pupsit wasn’t a long leap to incorporate them in our own abstract allegory. Angel and Hulk (so named for their respective appearances) are family. They are intertwined with us in the same manner you might be familiar with in your own pets. An opportunity to explore that relationship soon became an enrichment tool for our own understanding of them.

Los Angeles art murals in San Gabriel with artists
Taking in some rays with our new puppies

Dogs symbolize enduring faith and loyalty through virtually every culture. Their representations trace a course like rich veins in the earth through the tapestry of humanity, personifying an ageless fidelity. You can find hounds on coats of arms for noble houses in the Middle Ages, even further back on tombs and rock walls of the Bronze Age.

Beauties Wearing Flowers Chinese Tang Dynasty painting
Two court ladies play with their dog in Beauties Wearing Flowers by Tang Dynasty painter Zhou Fang

Chinese author Gan Bao in the Jin dynasty era wrote about Panhu, a heroic dog who helped Emperor Ku overcome an enemy general. As the myth goes, this champion (also a dragon) then transformed into a man and was rewarded for his efforts with marriage to the emperor’s daughter. It is no small thing symbolically to see a dog wed a princess, but also to be regarded as an origin myth for numerous Chinese ethnic groups.

There is a Chinese proverb which strikingly illuminates an empathy for these noble companions: “狗不嫌家贫,儿不嫌母丑”, translating to “a dog would not mind if its master is poor, a son would not mind if his mother is ugly.” Their capacity for steadfast faithfulness is commemorated in the Chinese Zodiac, where dogs are one of the 12 creatures.

A dog would not mind if its master is poor, a son would not mind if his mother is ugly.

Tying It Into the Present

While investigating our clear adoration of the pups, we wanted to engage a correlation with media. Rather than shoehorning in something popular for relevancy, or presenting a dichotomy simply for controversy’s sake, we wanted to prepare an homage to the totemic significance of these noble creatures. We wanted to see how we feel about them in a separate context than the usual.

Game of Thrones Daenerys and Jon Snow
Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow of Game of Thrones; our dogs’ celebrity doppelgängers

Angel has a lot of Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen in her. Because she’s such a natural beauty, she gets a significant amount of attention. You can see her wearing it imperially at times, taking for granted her elevated position in the pecking order. Still a dog, though, her nurturing side is a never-dimming core behind the pomp and ceremony. She loves fiercely those who have shown her respect.

Meanwhile, our German shepherd Hulk represents a slate-faced figure of determined stoicism. A clear frontrunner for the Stark family in GoT, his nobility belies a thrum of energy and capability for violence you expect in any loyal guard dog. There is a wisdom there, too, though an alien one that hints a threat for any ill-willed trespasser. The three-eyed raven constitutes a juxtaposition with his warrior spirit, the leylines where sensibility and force meet in him.

Los Angeles art murals in San Gabriel with subjects
One more with the mural subjects because they insisted. Such divas

Have any questions about our mural, or want to share your thoughts about it with us? You can reach out on our contact page.