Confessions of a pet artist


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Think people are particular about their tagged photos on Facebook? Try painting their dogs.

Just ask Sam Price, a San Francisco artist who makes collages for pet owners. A nurse’s assistant by day, Price charges about $1,000 per pet portrait.


Price has no qualms about what types of animals he paints. Most customers commission dog collages.

“Dog people are much more in tune with their animals’ needs and wants,” Price, who has a dog and two cats, said in a phone interview. “I don’t know why that is -- maybe because cats are more self-reliant.”

Price knows the feeling. Despite his cats sleeping in his bed every night while his dog sleeps downstairs, the 29-year-old artist has painted only his chocolate Lab, Buster.

“As long as I can get a good photograph, I can do any dog,” Price said. “I rely on the owners to take pictures of their pets. They know that special look that the animal in their life has. ... I know I spend hours taking pictures of my dog.”

“There’s a lot more unique qualities in dogs,” Price said. “Dogs have a lot of personalities. They come in all shapes and sizes.”

Price’s customers can be very particular. One woman insisted the portrait accentuate the perkiness of her French Bulldog’s ears.


The most frustrating customer experience involved a series of e-mails and phone calls with a very controlling Beagle owner. The pet lover had a number of specific requests right down to the size of the squares Price should use in his composition of the professionally photographed pup.

Finally, the deal fell apart. (We can only assume the model got cold paws.)

Pet art might not be the most glamorous career path, but Price enjoys his work. He’s hoping to eventually transition into being a full-time artist and expand into Los Angeles.

-- Mark Milian

Twitter: @markmilian

Image credit: Sam Price