From the simple idea of leaving free art for people to find, My Dog Sighs has gone on to create everything from large scale murals to detailed faces on cans, had sell out shows globally and become one of the leading figures in the street art world. In his latest creative venture, he’s teamed up with luxury watch maker Tribus to produce 50 uniquely hand painted time pieces.
We got in touch with My Dog Sighs to find out more about this exciting venture…
Why Tribus? I imagine you get approached to team up with lots of companies, what was it about Tribus that appealed to you? I get into the ‘discussion’ stage with a few companies and some sort of sticking point (creative freedom/ quality of product / budget) often stalls them. This relationship ran its course really smoothly. I loved the quality of the product and although it took over a year it’s been a fascinating journey.
How did you approach the project, how did you decide what was going to feature on them? Initially the Tribus guys suggested my can faces for the watches but that just didn’t feel right for me. My cans are about bringing something lost, a new lease of life. A watch definitely wasn’t that.
I felt it would be good to juxtapose the grit and grime of the urban street art wall with the precision engineered watch. I was obviously limited to a very small canvas (the watch face measures just under 4cm diameter) and it took lots of experimentation (and a few destroyed watch faces) to get something I was happy with.
Although you are known for detailed faces on cans, you have also created huge murals on buildings. Do you prefer large or small scale work? What are the different challenges for each? I love the variety of working in different scales. There’s something satisfying about ‘battling’ a huge wall. Each wall has its own challenges, weather, dodgy lift equipment, time issues and availability of the right materials all create a different experience every time you paint.
But equally, locking myself away and curling up in the studio and spending 7 hours painting a tiny eye on a tin can is also deeply meditative. I have to avoid caffeine for a few days before as it gives my had a little shake that’s amplified when I’m working so small. It also makes my eyes go ‘fizzy’ after a few hours. To be honest, it’s ruined my eyesight. I used to have 20/20 vision but since going so small, I’m regularly having to upgrade my focus glasses.
There’s no preference, I think they vary my creative opportunities!
Did they give you free rein with the designs or were there any parameters you had to work within? Tribus have been amazing. Complete free reign. And I got to decide the strap, watch frame, glass back. When I realised it was possible to have a glass back AND that I could etch it, I knew it had to be an eye etched on the back. People often tell me the eyes are the ‘windows to the soul’. What better than to have an eye on the window to the incredible workings of the watch!?
Do you have a favourite one? A favourite watch face? Ooh. I’m not sure. I painted them in small ‘batches’ so you’ll see different colour combinations. The hardest bit with all of them was knowing when to stop. There was a strict limit from the Swiss factory, on the thickness of the paint I could use so there was a fine balance of getting it right and not overloading. It’s harder to make something look random than you think.
Going forwards are there any other companies you’d love to work with and why? I always love working with companies and organisations that make a difference to people’s lives and it was an honour before Christmas to design a wrapping paper to raise money for the Big Issue. I think, if I believe in the company and that the collaboration works then it’s worth exploring. Creative freedom is key though. I’ve worked hard to create the MDS brand. It is everything to me.
Looking back at where it all started ie putting out free cans. Is it still a little surreal to be working with luxury brands etc? Do you take it all in your stride or are there still ‘pinching yourself’ moments? Honestly. It’s been an amazing journey. When you tick off everything on your ‘I’d like to…’ list and then offers come up way beyond anything you could have imagined it’s absolutely staggering. I’ve been so incredibly lucky; painting and exhibiting my work across the globe, seeing my art being studied in school syllabus’s and seeing how it has connected with people.
But art is about driving forward right?!? Getting out of the comfort zone. I’m not letting covid get in the way. 2021 is going to be a cracker!!
We would like to thank My Dog Sighs for taking the time (no pun intended) to chat to us. We’ve spoken to him a few times over the years and no matter how busy he is, he has always made the effort, proving he’s not only an incredibly talented artist but also a bloody nice guy.
The My Dog Sighs x Tribus watches are on sale now via the Tribus website for just over £2,000 each.