As far a artistic subcultures go, this is probably one of the more awesomely obscure I’ve come across. We’re looking at hand-painted “beware of dog” metal signs, a unique Himalayan folk art which commonly adorns the private gates of homes in Nepal. They are a dying art form however. Hand-painted techniques around the world, even as far as Kathmandu, are fast-disappearing and being replaced with computer-generated signs. But one American lady who fell in love with Nepal and its quirky danger dog signs is on a mission to save the charming subculture…
After 25 years working in the film business as an assistant film editor, Michelle Page gave it all up to start Nepal Art Dogs. The idea is, you can submit a photo of your beloved pet (dog, cat, rabbit, horse, bird, chicken– any species will do) and Michelle, who regularly travels back and forth, will give that photo to a Nepalese artist who will then paint the portrait on a metal sign from their studio in the Himalayas.
The artist will in fact paint three versions and whichever two you don’t choose are sold at museum shops, art galleries, boutiques, online or donated to silent auctions for good causes.
Through her efforts, Michelle is effectively saving the painters’ livelihoods, one “Danger Dog” at a time. “I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living, ” says Michelle. “Everybody is happy.”
The signs are also available for purchase in art galleries in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Texas, Cambridge and Manhattan. See the website for details.
And suddenly, it all becomes clear. Of course your pet needs its own personalised Himalayan hand-painted portrait. You can order yours here.