If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new art show opening this weekend at THNK1994 Museum called Real Housewives Pointing Fingers. The exhibition—which features artist Laura Collins’ paintings of, what else, your fave Real Housewives gesticulating accusatorily—also includes complementary works that were inspired by Collins’ concept.
The portraits feature six of our favorite Bravoleb pets—from Giggy Vanderpump to Archie Beador—and they rather impressively capture the essence of each. Unleashed spoke with the artist to learn more about her process and force her to pick a favorite Bravo pet. (Hint: She has good taste!)
How did you select which Real Housepets to feature? Can you talk a bit about your creative process?
To be honest, I was at the mercy of Instagram, so I had to search for good shots of the pets that the Housewives posted. Then, I printed them out and worked from the photo for reference. I watch pretty much all of the Housewives franchises so I was familiar with the pets that have been on the shows. My one criteria for choosing any pet photo is I need to have a connection with it somehow—whether it's in the eyes or they have a goofy smile. But I know if it will work immediately. I also painted the background color to connect it to their Bravoleb, so Giggy is pink for Lisa Vanderpump, Cookie is red for Bethenny Frankel, etc.
Do you have a favorite Bravoleb pet?
I'm partial to larger dogs and most of the women have smaller pets. This season, Shannon Beador introduced Archie—her new golden retriever—to the show. He's been on a few times either shaking water all over her or being fed the "healthy dinner" she cooked and no one wants to eat under the table. I'd say I like him best.
Is there a particular Bravoleb pet that made for an excellent artistic subject?
The first one I did was Tamra Judge's pit bull Bronx, and the last was Shannon's Archie because I knew they would be easier for me to paint with their shorter hair. Coincidentally, these were both The Real Housewives of Orange County dogs! I find it challenging to paint really hairy dogs and four of the six that I painted were longer-haired. That said, those are usually the most visually interesting dogs when done.
What's the most important quality to convey in a painting of someone's pet?
I will pretty much finish all the detail work everywhere else and then do the eyes last. Dogs are maybe the only animal that really look you in the eye, and I've been drawn to many of my photo subjects because of their eyes. If you can connect to the painting through the eyes, then I did it right.
If you could have your art hanging in any Bravoleb's house, whom would you pick and why?
Hmmmm...that's a tough one. I think maybe Bethenny Frankel’s, just because she has such a cool apartment and cool taste in general. But, I wouldn't mind if Lisa Vanderpump hung one in her mansion either because she has such a huge heart for animals!
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