Art

Acclaimed artist My Dog Sighs auctions off iconic painting to 'help those struggling and lost'

Acclaimed street artist My Dog Sighs is auctioning his work off for the first time, with all proceeds going to The Big Issue

My Dog Sighs is auctioning off a painting, with all proceeds going to the Big Issue. Credit: My Dog Sighs / Bonhams

Acclaimed street artist My Dog Sighs is auctioning his work off for the first time, with all proceeds going to the Big Issue to help millions of people in the UK affected by poverty.

For two decades, the Portsmouth legend has created eye-catching street art from lost and discarded objects, hiding free art and painting murals in more than 20 countries.

Now, he’s selling one of his iconic glassy reflective eye paintings – Reclaiming The Lost (Purple), 2023 – for a good cause.

“Having had the pleasure to guest edit the Big Issue last summer, it’s an honour to be able to auction a painting through Bonhams and pass the funds raised to the brilliant work the Big Issue do,” the artist said.

“When the Big issue approached me I instantly saw the parallels to my creative endeavours and their ethos of helping those struggling and lost, to work themselves to a position where they can find themselves and their place/purpose.”

My Dog Sighs’ projects are dotted across the world, ranging from 540 eyes adorned on a Roman hospital – each containing a portrait of someone who was born or died in the hospital – to one in his hometown celebrating Portsmouth FC’s 1939 FA Cup win. He boasts acclaimed works in China, Australia, South Korea, USA and Israel.

Yet his illustrious artistic career had humble beginnings. My Dog Sighs started creating art in the early 2000s while working full time as a primary school teacher. 

Rather than trying to cash in on his early artistic creations, he created Free Art Fridays, creating something with found objects and depositing them on his Friday commute.

“The power of art is that it just makes people look at the world in a slightly different way,” My Dog Sighs told the Big Issue last year. “As a street artist, what I find really powerful is the idea that it’s not just people looking for art that are seeing it. Every demographic walks down the street and can stumble across a piece of street art.

“And what’s more special than stumbling across a piece of treasure when you’re wandering around?”

He has previously spoken about his passion for ‘giving back’ to the streets and the people who sleep rough. His 2023 project INSIDE was partly inspired by this idea of reclaiming lost and hidden space, transforming derelict areas with the power of art.

“There are scary statistics, that for every homeless person there are 10 empty houses. That blows my mind,” he says. “So it builds on this idea of being aware of how we can look at lost materials, lost spaces, lost people – and how can we think about them in a different way.

“How can we use our creativity to look at the world in a different way? It is up to us to save these lost spaces. But it is our role to help people as well, isn’t it?”

The auction ends tomorrow (20 March). At time of writing, the highest bid is £5,500.

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