Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Missing my boy

Well it has been a week now since our boy left us for the rainbow bridge, doggy heaven, or whatever far off place good boys go when they die. I miss him. He was really much more like a cat than a dog in the way he loved. He had a sweet way of wrapping around you and snuggling for hours at night. I could go on and on rambling with sweet affection about the best boy ever. I will spare you and instead stick to the business of art and share with you the story of our beginning and Atti's hand, er paw in making Art Paw happen.
It was 1998 and Atticus was a very handsome one year old Scottie dog. I was coming to the end of my career as an independent greeting card publisher. I loved the card business but the industry was changing and becoming harder and harder for independent designers. One of my best pals was also a card designer at the time, and frustrated with sales he decided to create a few sure fire winners and asked all of his friends with dogs to come by his studio for a photo shoot. His next line for fall would have dog and cat photographs incorporated into his edgy card designs. He hired a terrific photographer (also a friend) named Kris Hundt to shoot our dogs. He ended up just using a Ridgeback & Chihuahua in his designs, however I did get my hands on Atticus' stunning photos. A few months later I scanned them into the computer and started playing late one night in photoshop. My husband Dan came in and sat down next to me and we were both taking turns at the mouse trying different filters and we ended up playing for around 6 hours that night on the very first Art Paw portrait. After we finished I said, "you know I could do this for other people". A brief job managing a biscuit bakery in the late 80's had taught me just how much people adored their pets, and I knew the business idea was solid. All I needed was a name. My last greeting card business had a very clever name, I was the "Cardiologist". It was a clever pun, however I had countless people in the gift industry ask me if I was really a doctor and then I was left explaining the pun, making them feel, well sort of stupid. I knew that naming the business was a very important step and that I could not be too clever or crazy with it. I longed to try something hip like jumping dog studios, barking pixels, or something even more abstract and funky. No, I knew I had to play it safe and I chose Art Paw. It was very short and sweet and would be easy for folks to remember. Now I needed a marketing plan. At first the plan was simple, I showed up for every outdoor dog event dragging my portfolio, fliers and Atticus along. Atticus loved being our Mascot and he adored outdoor publicity events. He knew when we started pulling out the tables and tent that it was time for fun, and he would stay close to the door as we loaded the Jeep, determined not to be left behind. Atticus was of course the subject matter of many of our first works, and we quickly started developing a Scottie following on the web. Through Art Paw Atticus has brought so many wonderful people into our lives and we are continually blessed by an abundance of deep friendships, laughter and love. He died last week at the age of 8. He had been bravely battling cancer for 6 months. He was a very social boy with tons of friends. He will be missed by many. Our very first portrait of Atti is shown below.


Mary said...

Hi Rebecca,
I'm recovering from surgery and just happened to be browsing around on the net when I saw ran across this about Atticus. I'm so sorry for the loss of your furry family. I had framed some of your notecards so Atticus is proudly displayed in our "Scottie" laundry room. Again so sorry for your loss.
Mary - mom of Angus, Montgomery and Duncan in KC

Rebecca said...

Hi Mary-
Thanks so much for your comment, it came to me on a good
morning. I was just out and happened to drive by a
park that we had discovered late in Atticus' life, and
I was really missing him today. He loved that park,
and even when he was not feeling great he would pick
up his energy level to have a good walk at this lake
area playground. Your note really cheered me up, it
does make me happy knowing that many people have
enjoyed his art. Best of luck to you in your recovery
from surgery, I hope daytime TV does not drive you crazy.
Take Care,