Artist Statement

Dog Gods

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Flach’s second book Dogs Gods is a study of canines. It focuses on the diversity of dog breeds, revealing how their forms and capabilities provide a mirror to human development and identity over millions of years. His interest in dogs arose from the unique relationship that humans have with this species, and the myriad ways in which these animals have entered our lives, our homes, and even our language. We adore dogs, we let them sleep in our beds, and even talk about being dog tired, or suffering from the black dog.

Copse Bride

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Poor hound, you might think when looking at this Standard Poodle groomed in the style of Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride, laughing at it’s comical hairstyle. But it takes a special bond between dog and owner for that much time to be spent grooming, and many dogs will find that time spent together with its owner highly rewarding. In contrast, too many dog owners seem to simply not have the time to spend with their dogs, and separation anxiety can be quite a problem, so spending some time doing a spot of silly grooming together isn’t such a bad thing!

Penny Working the Bracken

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This photograph is inspired by traditional landscape painting. It is very deliberately composed to guide the eye in a clockwise direction around the image, with carefully placed guides, with areas of light and dark encouraging the viewer’s gaze around the picture

Levens Hall Poodle

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This proud poodle fits in well in the grounds of Levens Hall in the Lake District. Their topiary garden is, as confirmed in the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest and most extensive in the world, having been started in the 1690s, with some of the yew trees there being over 300 years old!

Of all the dog breeds, the poodle is most well known for its creative grooming, and although these topiary-like trims might look like just a fashion statement, as with the way many dogs are groomed, there is actually a practical history behind it. Bred as a water retriever in early 17th Century Europe, the Poodle name comes from the German pudel or pudelhund, which literally means water dog.” With such thick fur, the poodle’s coat tended to get heavy and wet in water, so the bottom half of his fur was shaven to lighten him when he swam. To keep his organs warm in cold water, he kept long hair on his chest and hair, booties and bracelets were left on to protect his knees and feet protected, and a topknot ponytail was used to keep the long hair from his eyes. Over the years this grooming became more stylised, but is essentially remains the same sensible haircut, believe it or not!

Flying Mop

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This dog is a Hungarian Puli. It is unusual, as it has the familiar sweet face of a Westie or a Bichon Frise, but snapped in the moment as it jumped, it has the wild dreadlocked tendrils of a mop!

The puli was originally a herding dog, used by the nomadic inhabitants of the Hungarian plains to herd their livestock. Its curious corded coat is almost entirely waterproof, and extremely thick, which came in handy when protecting the flock from wolves. It is a small dog however, and the real protecting was done by its larger dreadlocked cousin, the Komondor, another Hungarian herding dog who would watch over the animals at night, after the Puli had tended them by day.