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The new mural at DC Brau’s brewery on Bladensburg Road NE has a certain ferociousness to it— one you wouldn’t expect from a painting of a pair of pets. But while the two yawning dogs’ jaws may look intimidating, local artist James Walker says he was capturing a playful moment. “A lot of times dog people will see [my work] and be like, ‘Oh, that’s dogs playing,’ and non-dog people will think they’re ferocious,” he says. “It’s not always what it seems.”
The dogs in the mural are Walker’s two border collies, whom he has been incorporating into his art for about a decade. “They don’t care about the past or future,” he says “They’re always really excited to be as involved as possible in right now. Those are all ideals that I believe in myself.” For the mural, Walker consulted two photographs he took of his dogs while they bathed in his backyard in Leesburg, Va.
The owners of DC Brau commissioned Walker after they saw one of his smaller works on display at the G40 art exhibition.The piece took two full days to complete, and wrapped up on Feb. 5. Walker has done a couple of large-scale pieces in the past, but he said this is probably the biggest. “It’s absolutely breathtaking,” DC Brau’s Brandon Skall says of the piece. “If you can get far enough back from it, it looks three-dimensional. I just love the idea that the moment he caught them, they look like ferocious beasts.”
Walker said one of the reasons he agreed to do the commission was the potential for lots of people to see it. “When you do something on the street, you don’t know what’s going to happen to it,” he said. “This I knew had the potential to stay there for years and years.”
Also: Watch this timelapsed video of Walker completing the mural.