I grew up in a house that always had a dog in it. Our pets ranged from Doberman Pinchers to Yorkshire Terrier mutts, but they all shared that bouncy, playful love of life we craved to surround ourselves with. For decades or even centuries the battle has raged about whether dogs or cats are better pets, but Mark Ulriksen uses his paint and his passion to show where his pet loyalties lie.
Dogs Rule Nonchalantly is a collection of paintings with small bits of text on each page. It’s all dogs, from front to back, and the string connecting them all is a deep and pure love.
Ulriksen’s talent as an artist is matched and exceeded only by his devotion to dogs as the best animal companion out there. He visually leads us through his life and his experiences with a large number of these canine compadres. His words are so heartfelt and honest, which plays beautifully with his colorful artwork.
The paintings range from serene and stoic to playful and poetic. Some have a single focus, while others include details you may only notice on the second or third time through.
His words take on a sort of zen quality, as when he writes, “Dogs are seldom unhappy, until you leave without them.” Or “Dogs are clever. They eat well and never do the cooking.” Yet just when you think you are going to be turning page after page of light-hearted cuteness, Ulriksen drops a bomb by detailing the loss of one of his dogs, Ted. When he wrote, “I cried for a week,” I wanted to cry right along with him.
While I have been assimilated into loving cats and a menagerie of other animals, dogs still hold a special place in my heart and Ulriksen provides plenty of proof for his statement, Dogs Rule Nonchalantly.