A massive well done to a street artist that has put Portsmouth on the map and carried a longevity to his work. The world renowned street artist My Dog Sighs celebrates 20 years creating work on the street this year. After previous failed attempts at entering the art world through traditional channels and stumbling across the burgeoning new art movement of street art, in 2003 MDS immersed himself in the scene, painting canvasses which he would leave on the street for people to find. He called it Free Art Friday. This art movement went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. By the time the BBC’s Culture Show featured him a few years later he had progressed to painting on found items, particularly old tin cans, saying, “I can’t be accused of littering if I take something that was already on the street, paint it and return it”.
After exploring many facets of street art style he began to refine his style through a combination of glassy reflective eyes with hidden stories; melancholic and often naive childlike paintings and other-worldly characters; all of which reflect elements of the human condition.
My Dog Sighs is now recognised as one of the world’s leading street artists. His commissions include Amsterdam Street Art Museum; Digital Vision, Shenzhen, China; Coventry Transport Museum; Discerning Eye, London; he has painted around the world, shown in international museums and galleries and has extensive work in private collections across the globe including A list celebrities and sporting legends.
Having painted at all the world’s leading street art festivals, MDS has headlined many of them. He is on the education syllabus in Mexico, is studied in many U.K. schools and is an exam paper subject for a Swedish exam board. He has been a guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Live, BBC’s One Show and the BBC’s flagship arts program The Culture Show; had work featured in The Times, The Guardian and the New York Post; had features in many major art publications; and is regularly featured in global street art media best murals” articles.
About 20th Anniversary Treasure Hunt.
Throughout 2023 My Dog Sighs is undertaking a career retrospective and revisiting the key points of his career. Having founded his career through Free Art Friday he is creating a huge three day Free Art treasure hunt. Starting on Good Friday, 7th April, he will be hiding 45,000 worth of art across the city of Portsmouth, covering the north, south, and west of Portsea Island. He will be dropping a third of the work each day and will be working with organisations across the city to help maximise the impact of the event to the local economy. Items will be dropped at a different times across the 72 hour period.Clues to the locations of the artworks will be shared on social media.
People taking part will be encouraged to wear their love of My Dog Sighs with spotters randomly giving goodies to those they see.
The treasure is a combination of a small number of very high value items, a generous amount of mid-price items and a large number of collectible items to give both the excitement of valuable prizes with plenty of opportunities for people to find something. The list of prizes includes:
• 3 original hand painted cans
• 20 hand painted pebbles
• 60 exclusive limited edition prints only available via the treasure
• 600 specially minted My Dog Sighs coins which will also only be available via the treasure hunt.
• 2000 beer mats
How Businesses Will Get Involved
My Dog Sighs is a proud resident of Portsmouth and wants to give back to the city he loves. He knows that many organisations have been hit hard by Covid and the cost of living crisis and he wants to harness the spending power of the expected 10,000 and 20,000 aound 30% from outside the city to support independent cafes, restaurants, bars, B&Bs, hotels and tourist attractions etc.
My Dog Sighs will place 100 of the coins each day via local organisations to create a city-wide project, raise the profile of the amazing businesses within the city and encourage hunters to visit them.
The clues to the treasure hunt will be shared on Instagram and or facebook. The organisations must have either an Instagram or Facebook (ideally both) account to take part so they can post a closely cropped photo of the item in-situ or other clue and use the hashtag #mdsfindit and tag @mydogsighs.
Items will generally be placed somewhere publicly accessible that does not require an entrance fee or other expenditure to find the coin to minimise financial barriers for hunters.
The beer mats come in four designs which can be put together to create a larger image. Each pub will only have one of the designs so that people have to visit multiple locations to collect the set.
Organisations will encourage the finder to post a photo of themselves with the item they have found, to tag @mydogsighs and to use the hashtag #mdsfoundit. This will manage the expectations of other hunters who were seeking that item.
My Dog Sighs’will share the #mdsfindit and #mdsfoundit posts with his 90,000 Instagram and 65,000 Facebook followers.
As well as the treasure hunt the MDS studio will be open all weekend (Friday Saturday and Sunday) 10-3. There’s lots of new and exciting merch, prints, pin badges paintings to see. If you didn’t find a print or set of beer mats, there will be a very small amount of these available to purchase. It’s first come first served so please don’t message to ask MDS to hold anything. You can find the studio above the Wedgewood rooms in Albert road Southsea.
Have fun over the wknd treasure hunting and enjoying all the street art there is in Portsmouth!