Collaboration is my love language.
I talk about this a lot in the various business and pet-related circles I’m involved with because I believe that when you work together with other passionate individuals or groups who are in alignment with your core values, you can create absolutely incredible things that make a difference in your community. I actually talked about this in my post about The Limelight Pet Project last Fall, and that’s a great example of how collaboration can make a difference on so many levels.
In that post, I talked about how it has taken years to get to the point where I know myself well enough to recognize the people who are “my people.” Basically, I lead my life and business with my heart and a vision of creating opportunities to do great things in my community. In doing that, I’ve found people who are also leading with their hearts.
In the Spring of 2019 I had the honor of collaborating on a project with my friend and fellow passionate, animal-loving human, Lauren Hartley. Lauren is the owner/founder/artist/freaking amazing creator of All Dog Kind, where she creates art that ultimately celebrates the joy of dogs and gives their people even more to smile about. The heart of her business revolves around the truth that “all dogs, regardless of their breed or past, deserve love, dignity and kindness. ” In addition to being an incredible artist and human, she also donates 20% of the profits from sales to animal rescues and conservation efforts. In short, she’s amazing, and 100% my people.
In May of 2019, Lauren and I presented a special collaboration featuring seven rescue dogs from Homeward Pet Adoption Center dressed up as if they were attending the 2019 Met Gala with the theme of “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” We called the finished project, “Dogs of Camp.” We each learned so much from this experience. Mostly, that anything is possible when you work together to create things that bring joy to the world. Thanks to our friend, Tracy, from Pet Connection Magazine, we were connected with local news channel, Q13 Fox News, and were invited to the studio to talk about Dogs of Camp. I wrote the below message on Instagram after our taping. I’m sharing it with you now, over a year later, because every piece of it is still true.
“Here is my truth today: when you create things that come from a place of authenticity, love and magic, the Universe will hear you.
I have spent the past five years figuring out what this means for myself and the things I want to build. It all starts with trusting yourself. Then it continues with trusting others through cultivating and building relationships with people who are in alignment with the things your heart wants to put out into the world. It’s about supporting one another and the things we care about. It’s about staying true to what matters most: doing great things for others that can actually make a difference in the world.
This is what Dogs of Camp is about for @alldogkind and @dirtiedogphotography as creative businesses, but it’s what is at the heart of everything that we do as humans.
Lauren and I were on @q13fox taping a segment about our project today.
When we decided to collaborate on a project together, we really just thought it would be amazing to create some cool art together. We did not think about where this incredible journey would take us, but we hoped it could be something that inspires more people to support rescues.
I told Lauren after our taping this morning that what I’ve learned from this entire experience is that as artists, when we create something, we are often trying to find an answer to some question or idea that’s rattling around in our creative brains. My question for a while has been: what could happen if two passionate, soulful and inspired artists who believe so deeply in creating work that benefits others were to put their energies together to create something great. What if we could do that, and what if we did do that?
I’m still in awe over the fact that we’ve done it. We’re still at such an early stage of sharing Dogs of Camp with the world, but so far it has been amazing.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us. Thank you to @homeward_pet for partnering with us. Thank you to @pet_connection_magazine for connecting us to @q13fox and of course thank you to everyone at Q13, especially @lizdueweke who made us all feel so comfortable during our segment.
And Tiki. We ❤️ you, you maniac.”
You can view Dogs of Camp here:
You can view our Q13 segment here: https://youtu.be/wo1S4efmKaE
You might be wondering about a 2020 Met Gala collaboration. Yes, Lauren and I had plans to do another project. In fact, we plan to do this every year because it’s just so much fun. We began our 2020 Met Gala project in January, completed our first portrait session in February, had a lineup of Seattle-area foster dogs ready to model in March and were planning a big project reveal event (a Mutt Gala) for the day before the real Met Gala. We put a lot of work into this. And then COVID-19 happened, and any chance of doing in-person work was halted. The 2020 Met Gala was cancelled (it’s scheduled for the first Monday of May each year), and the reveal of the collection for this year’s theme was postponed until Fall.
Here’s the thing. We haven’t totally given up on this. We’ve already done the planning for the project, so it’s entirely possible that we will still be able to create the artwork as soon as we’re able to do studio sessions with foster dogs who have not yet been adopted. So, keep your paws crossed that we’ll get to present a 2020 Met Gala collaboration this year, and for sure look forward to another in 2021.
Our goal has always been to create things that bring joy to the world. Collaborations like this help us to do that, and it truly is only the beginning of our journey to show that every dog deserves love, and Every Dog is a work of art.
All my love,