Dogged devotion beats catty nips

Mosgiel artist Brenda Nyhof shows no fear as she looks her demon dog in the eyes. PHOTO: GREGOR...
Mosgiel artist Brenda Nyhof shows no fear as she looks her demon dog in the eyes. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Brenda Nyhof's dog sculpture looks like a demon for a reason.

"I make dragons, so my dogs were always going to come out dragon-like."

Its look was also partly influenced by her dog's "enthusiastic" nature.

"We've got a 10-month-old blue heeler and he's a bundle of energy. He's called Max and we call him Maximus when he's being naughty, which is quite often."

She coated the "manky, half-wild dog" with a mixture of cloth and PVA glue.

The ladies at the Salvation Army saved up their coat hangers so they could be used for its structure, she said.

Mrs Nyhof loves the personalities of dogs.

"They're just fun."

This was in stark contrast to the family cat.

"I have a cat but I don't like it very much. I'm a dog person. We had an old dog that the cat used to like and it used to sleep in its basket. Then it died and we got the new dog and it hates the new dog.

"Cats really don't care. I don't think she likes us."

For balance, the Otago Daily Times found artist Doug Hart, of Dunedin, who had the opposite take on the pet war.

"I have had dogs in the past, but I'm not really a dog person. I'm a cat person, really. They're more sort of sensuous and independent.

"The cat owns you, you don't own the cat."

Despite this, Mr Hart went along with the theme and created dog-themed pieces including Dog Tired and the Beatles-inspired Yappy Road.

The gallery will be filled with more than 180 pieces from artists throughout the country through the Fringe to celebrate canines in their zodiac year.

Otago Art Society president Nic Dempster said it was one of the few occasions when the society ran a theme through its exhibition.

"It was exciting to get people out of their comfort zones. We opened it up to non-members as well."

Mr Dempster likes both cats and dogs and owns both.

"But he's an outside cat. He doesn't sleep on the bed like the dog."

Year of the Dog will run every day, 10am to 4pm, until Sunday, March 18 at the Otago Art Society gallery, Dunedin Railway Station.

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