Known for his dramatic compositions and luminous landscapes, New Zealand artist, Ivan Clarke needs no introduction to many. His subjects are varied from the magnificence of New Zealand's landscapes, to contemplative figurative studies.
A second generation artist, Ivan started out as a commercial artist, then transitioned into fine art. He has a strong international following and is inspired by a surprising mix of 19th century greats such as Claude Monet and Albert Bierstadt to Chagall and even Dr. Seuss.
Recently, inspiration has taken a whole new approach as Ivan embarks in a very different direction. The Lonely Dog concept stemmed from his annual holiday three years ago. Working from his rural Queenstown studio, Ivan unveiled the celebrated Lonely Dog series in 2006.
The Lonely Dog is a touching story of an orphan hound growing up in the whimsical world of Alveridgea in which cats and dogs coexist in a segregated society. As the Lonely Dog grows up, so does the story building into a complex, sophisticated world of twists, metaphors, and social parallels.
The tale is inspired by Ivan’s family pet daschund, Arthur Snout, and his forlorn appearance each year they left on their overseas holiday. It was the family’s sadness at the loneliness of their beloved dog that led Ivan to paint the first Lonely Dog picture. The painting, entitled Bon
Voyage, shows a slick suit-wearing Arthur staring longingly at a ship on the horizon with the Clarke family onboard. This initial painting launched Ivan’s creative imagination, inspiring him to produce more Lonely Dog artworks.
He has fond memories of bringing the whimsical images to life for his children by telling wacky and funny stories about them.
Initially Ivan produced a limited edition collector’s book of 300 copies called The Birth of a Legend which followed the Lonely Dog’s exploits in Port Alveridge. “The book explored outrageous notions and ideologies with a whole range of paranormal ideas you would expect to find around the next corner in downtown Port Alveridge,” says Ivan.
Paintings depicting the Lonely Dog dressed in his trademark suit and wing-tipped shoes have become widely sought after as the Lonely Dog tale takes off. As a follow-up, a new book has recently been produced called Alveridgea and the Legend of the Lonely Dog, a more detailed account of the young hound’s life in which he eventually creates a name for himself as a legendary virtuoso rocker. The Lonely Dog is an inspirational character as the circumstances in his life parallel our own… and becomes the tale of every person’s “rags-to-riches” dream. It has attracted phenomenal interest, so much so that early preparations for a movie are underway.
Books, impressionist paintings, as well as life-size
figurines of the Lonely Dog and other characters in Port
Alveridge, have been created by Richard Taylor of Weta
Workshop. The internationally renowned New Zealand special effects company has won several Academy Awards, particularly for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The
hand-sculpted works of art are created from Ivan’s sketches then cast in bronze.
The Lonely Dog is a spellbinding story of a young dog’s journey through life. Ivan says, Port Alveridge is itself
a real world in another time and another place… “Anyone can go there and your ticket is your imagination.” The Lonely Dog is a living legacy destined to become a legend as the story unfolds. Lahaina Galleries is proud to be a part of its history…and excited to see where our imagination will lead us next.