An untitled example of Tillie’s work
In a recent post MadSilence discussed the phenomena of nonhuman artists. Thanks to a recent report on CBS News Sunday Morning we learned of Tillamook Cheddar or Tillie, a terrier and prolific artist residing in Brooklyn, NY. Here’s Tillie’s bio from her website:
“Tillamook Cheddar is a Jack Russell Terrier from Brooklyn, New York. Widely regarded as the world’s preeminent canine artist, she has already had fourteen solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Tillie is seven years old.
In July 2005 the artist gave birth to six healthy puppies.
Her first official biography, Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist by F. Bowman Hastie III, is published by Sasquatch Books (2006).
The artist’s primary process is a dynamic color transfer technique. In preparation for each of Tillie’s works, her assistants assemble a touch-sensitive recording device by affixing pigment-coated vellum to a sheet of lithograph paper backed by mat board. The artist takes the prepared “canvas” in her mouth and brings it to her workspace. Working on the outside surface, she applies pressure with teeth and claws in a methodic ritual marked by dramatic shifts in tempo and intensity. The resultant sharp and sweeping intersecting lines complement the artist’s delicate paw prints and subtle tongue impressions, composing an expressionistic image that is revealed on the paper beneath when she is finished. She works with shocking intensity, sometimes to the point of destroying her creations.”
Tillie is cute and her story fun and entertaining. I wish one of my two Dalmatians had her talent. Her story leaves yet unanswered the nature of “artistic” objects created by nonhuman creatures. Is it art or something else? And does it really matter? Send your comments to:
Stay tuned for future posts on this topic.