About the artist
Happy Dog has worked in the advertising industry for most of his life and for some of the largest agencies in the world, including Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam (Y&R). He now runs his own advertising firm in Connecticut, Happy Dog Advertising, which has now been in business for 15 years. Working in advertising has greatly shaped and influenced his artwork, where the visuals have to fit a concept and tell a story. This, along with his love of photography, has allowed him to mix his two streams of art for the work he publishes on Instagram.
How did you first get into digital art?
Through being an art director in advertising.
Why did you choose digital art as your medium?
Because I can’t draw!
What artistic styles are you particularly drawn to?
I am drawn to great photography, the masters in painting, great art directors in advertising for print and film, along with cinematography in film.
What inspires you?
Nature, my children, art, film and music.
What is your artistic motivation?
It varies from day to day.
Of all your images to date, which is your favourite and why?
There is no way I could choose one favourite piece of art. I don’t know how I am going to choose 3 for this interview!
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Conceptual, makes a statement, clean.
What memorable responses to your artwork have you had?
I have had numerous responses on Instagram but I really don’t memorise them. I am my toughest critic. What I enjoy most is winning awards from my peers in advertising creative shows.
Name three artists who inspire you.
Van Gogh for one. Other than that, any of the great photographers, great conceptual art directors and designers.
How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started
My style has changed from pure photography to mixing my photography with textures and photoshop manipulations to create stories. I don’t look at it as improving; I always try to change my work, not necessarily to improve it.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?
I would do things the exact same way. The key is to not take yourself and your work so seriously; just create! On instagram you have the freedom to do anything you want. At work you have a specific message to deliver and therefore your visuals/art has to pay off that message or concept.
What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?
An Apple Mac.
Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites
Photoshop, Distressed FX and a few others.
Do you use images from stock sites as well as your own photos and if so, which are your favourites and why?
Absolutely. It is impossible to have every detail of a conceptual image. I do have an extensive library, but I certainly don’t have every conceivable image known to man. I also create images in illustrator.
And finally, do you find that digital art is often dismissed as a valid art form?
Not really, since it is used in my industry.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights with us, Happy Dog!