London street artist makes hit - and money - with dog sketches

Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:31am EDT
 
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By Daan Kaur

LONDON (Reuters) - A former homeless man's sketches of his dog George, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier he credits with changing his life, are commanding rising prices in a London gallery and have earned him a show in Los Angeles.

John Dolan, 43, who used to sell his sketches for pocket change and now gets 3,000 to 4,000 pounds ($6,800) for them, said he had descended into a life of poverty, drugs, crime and homelessness until a homeless woman got George, then a puppy, in exchange for the price of a can of beer and gave the dog to Dolan.

He started drawing the dog and the scenes around him while begging on the street, and soon passersby were buying his sketches, he said.

"The drawings that I do of him are quite simple but I've done one that's been in most of the papers, it's the very detailed one, it's quite a big drawing," Dolan said, while sitting in his favorite spot on an east London street.

He can now afford his own lodgings but still prefers to draw outdoors.

"I've captured him magnificently in that, but these little ones that I do, I basically try and capture his personality if I can in all of them," he said.

    His success in part comes from a chance meeting with Richard Howard-Griffin, who runs street art tours in East London, owns a gallery there and mounted a first show of Dolan's work.

That was a hit, so now there is a second "John and George".   Continued...

 
John Dolan sits on a street sketching alongside his dog George as he poses for a photograph in London, July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Daan Kaur