CHASED) Art and People Berlin

People: Berlin’s very own Dog Painter – an interview

13 Nov

Berlin’s no.1 dog painter, Jeroen Teunen, graduated from Camberwell college of arts in 2001, then worked as an illustrator in London.
(Human) Love took him to Paris, where he then also fell in love with a small French bulldog in a pet store window. Maxing out three credit cards in order to buy that little dog, his life then turned a corner – his very own Frenchie called Mr.Big (who also had his own tv show in Germany)!, became the subject of his drawings; and subsequently painting the loyal, characterful animals belonging to others, became his career.

Jeroen, thanks for spending some time with us and answering our questions!

Chased: Have you always had an affinity to dogs, or was it that moment, on that day in Paris, that you got completely hooked?

JT: Although I grew up with dogs in my family , it never crossed my mind to get one later on in life. The “Paris Moment” was indeed very magical. I set-out that day to go for a walk around town. Once I lay eyes on the little dog in the shop window it was as if lighting had struck me – kind of like recognizing an old friend.
It turns out that I made the right choice in buying that dog, since he changed the course of events in my life and led me on the path to become The Dog Painter.

Chased: How do you add humor to the paintings you create for clients – does the client give you an idea of what they would like, or do you form an idea of the dog’s characteristics from spending time with it?

JT: It’s a bit of a mix. Usually the customers tell me a little bit about their dog, or about the wishes they have themselves. Often the finished dog painting becomes fused with the dog owners own characteristics – the two merge. It’s often said that dog owners resemble their dogs and this often happens in my portraits.
If people let me decide freely , I tend to focus on “the look” in a dogs eyes. You can tell if the are naughty, lazy or posh etc. and I will then focus my work in that direction.
I rarely get to spend time with the dogs face to face, since I paint for a lot of people from abroad.

Chased: I can’t imagine the dogs pose for a long time – how much time do you need to get the general outline of an artwork for a client? Are you super fast, or do you also use photographs?

JT: I usually work from photographs … it’s not like they lay down on a chaise longue and I paint them – although that would be a FANTASTIC image and a funny painting !!!!
Of course I have a close exchange with the dog owners before I start painting and often start by sending them some sketches.

Chased: Which artists have provided inspiration for you?

JT: I started drawing and became an illustrator because of my love for comic books. I used to collect american comic books as a teenager and through that medium discovered underground artists like Robert Crumb and Gilbert Sheldon. Later on, during my time in London, I was fortunate enough to hang out with David Shrigley and his relaxed views on art very much influenced me.
But it can be any piece of art that inspires me…be it a cool mural on the streets of Berlin, the latest painting by Gary Baseman or an exhibit in one of the many galleries this town has to offer.

Chased: And finally, what technique do you use to create your unique pieces?

JT: I am very Old School …. I like to touch and hold a finished piece and therefore don’t like working on a computer. For me it’s like magic to start off with a blank canvas and ending up with a colorful world that didn’t exist before. I usually paint with acrylics on canvas…for my quick black and white drawings I like the good old pen and ink.

Thanks very much for your time, Jeroen, and warm pats to Mr.Big and co. from us here at Chased.

Jeroen Teunen 'The dog painter' and Mr. Big

Jeroen Teunen ‘The dog painter’ and Mr. Big

 

Jeroen Teunen

Jeroen Teunen

Jeroen Teunen

Jeroen Teunen

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