Wednesday, February 07, 2007


This dog craps on anything we've ever accomplished.
We here at HPO have no qualms with animals being more successful than we are. None at all. That being said, we would like to introduce you to a small Jack Russell terrier named Tillamook Cheddar. Tillie is a world-famous painter that has achieved very much in her young dog life. In fact, she is so cool that she has already made it to the number two spot on HPO's "Coolest Dogs of All Time" list. Here's a quick look at the coolest dogs of all time, as ranked by the creative element of this website:

#1 - Spuds Mackenzie

Spuds is best known for being the face dog of a massive beer marketing scheme about 15 years ago. He solidified his reputation by becoming widely known as the first dog to wear a sport coat without any pants. Spuds's smooth demeanor and skill with the ladies earned him much fame and recognition. Countless rip-offs of Spuds can be seen in mainstream pop culture even today.

Here is one of Spuds's more refined pieces:

#2 - Tillie

The most famous dog painter of all time, Tillie is a seasoned vet of the cut-throat lifestyle of a young canine artist. In addition, she is an accomplished actress, model, and musician. Her paintings sell for thousands of dollars, she has been in the news all over the world, and her exhibitions have gone international. More on Tillie later.

#3 - Sergeant Stubby

Stubby is the most successful non-human soldier in American military history. During WWI, Sgt Stubby faithfully served his country along with the all the other bright, flowering young men of the 102nd Infantry in France. Stubby was wounded in combat, but would return to the trenches and eventually survived the war. His brave service record over the course of fighting several battles (including the bloodbath at Verdun) earned him several medals and awards. He is also the only dog in history to reach the rank of Sergeant.

Least-cool dog of all time:

Mr. Winkles is a pathetic furball that more closely resembles a varmit that you might find licking up barbecue sauce in your dumpster than any type of respectable dog. Rumor has it that he once lost a fight to an ant. His official website, which is almost as inept as he is, does him justice.

The rest of the coolest dogs list is inconsequential.

Anyways, since Tillie is a fan favorite around these parts, we put forth a solid effort into researching this fine animal, and we somehow managed to get an exclusive question-and-answer session with Tillie's manager, Bowman:

1. How old is Tillie? What kind of childhood did she have?
Tillie just turned 8 on January 17, 2007, which makes her a Capricorn. I don't know much about the first 2 months of her life, except that she spent them in Greenwich, CT, with her mother Winnie and her father Nitro, and her 5 littermates. She moved with me to Brooklyn when she was about 10 weeks old. I think she had a happy "childhood" though she started working at a very early age -- Tillie had her first art opening when she was 9 months old.

2. Tillamook Cheddar is an unusual name. What are its origins? Does Tillie like cheese?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon, eating lots of Tillamook Cheddar, the most popular cheese in Oregon. As a major cheese enthusiast, I decided to name my first dog after a cheese. My sister Amelie suggested Cheddar, and I decided to add Tillamook, partly out of nostalgia, and also because it shortens nicely to "Tillie". Tillie loves cheese -- the stinkier the better!

3. The intellectual level of dogs encompasses the entire spectrum, from "dumb as a box of rocks" all the way up to "Barbara Streisand". How would you describe Tillie's intellect?
Colin Powell.

4. Does she drink out of the toilet and/or eat insects?
No and no.

5. Could you briefly describe how exactly Tillie creates her art? Please, for clarity, also describe any sound effects she might make during the process.
This is a description from Tillie's web site: The artist's primary process is a dynamic color transfer technique. Inpreparation for each of Tillie's works, her assistants assemble a touch-sensitive recording device by affixing pigment-coated vellum to a sheet of lithograph paper backed by mat board. The artist takes the prepared "canvas" in her mouth and brings it to her workspace. Working on the outside surface, she applies pressure with teeth and claws in a methodic ritual marked by dramatic shifts in tempo and intensity. The resultant sharp and sweeping intersecting lines complement the artist's delicate paw prints and subtle tongue impressions, composing an expressionistic image that is revealed on the paper beneath when she is finished. She works with shocking intensity, sometimes to the point of destroying her creations. There is a lot of panting, as well as barking, and the sounds of her scratching the surface with her claws.

6. How long does it take her to complete a painting? It is obvious that not every painting can be a winner. Does she ever work hard on a piece, finally complete it, only to decide that it is terrible and throw it away?
Tillie usually works between 10 minutes and 1 hour in a typical painting session. I have never thrown a piece away, but sometimes I have Tillie work over a drawing in a different color -- this is how the nonmonochromatic pieces are made. Tillie appears to have no interest whatsoever in the appearance of her finished works, which is one reason I describe her approach as "process-oriented."

7. Everybody knows that dogs love Mexican food. How do you keep Tillie's cravings for pico de gallo under control?
I try not to feed Tillie onions, as they are reported to be bad for dogs, along with chocolate, grapes, and nuts (Grape Nuts are okay, but she doesn't like those much). She doesn't care much for raw tomato, either, so pico de gallo is not a big temptation for her. She does like spicy foods, however, and almost anything with cheese or meat. I don't worry about Tillie's diet too much. She gets plenty of exercise, she's in great shape, her stool is nearly always impeccable.

8. Would Tillie rather meet George W. Bush or Bill Clinton?
That's a tough one. GWB seems to really like his dog Barney, so maybe he would be especially nice to Tillie. Then again, Clinton seemed pretty cool with Buddy, and he wears that funky friendship bracelet, which may or may not be an indicator of a bona fide dog lover. I think Bill Clinton would have a more interesting reaction to her art, because of his greater intellect and breadth of experience. But that would matter more to me than it would to Tillie, as I imagine she has very little interest in critical responses to her work.

9. If Tillie could talk, what's the first thing she would say?
Honestly, I have no idea. I just hope it isn't "You're fired."

It should be pretty obvious by now that Tillie a juggernaut in terms of dog intelligence. Hell, most dogs that we associate with barely know their own name. You can check out Tillie's official homepage for more information or to see her portfolio of art or schedule of upcoming events.

Editor's note: Video removed by request of readers.


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