Sarah Regan Snavely and sculpture
I’m fascinated with dogs. Dogs are nifty alien-like creatures which have infiltrated our world. They live among us sharing common experiences. They are our companions on our life travels.

 

I live with a pack of Greyhound dogs. They are my models and the main influence of my work. They are creatures of speed, vicious predators of small cute furry things, and aerodynamic missiles of death. They are liquid and line. They are bones, muscle and sinewy goodness – a raw, honest and natural dog free of poof or puff.

In 2003 I moved from Minnesota to southwestern North Dakota. I was sure that this would be the small quiet place where I could set up a studio and create work in my private cocoon making work for no one but me. I soon discovered that community is the thing. Sharing the work is not just beneficial, but necessary to the advancement of my artistic practice. Success is sweetest when used to encourage other’s artistic endeavors. Turns out like a dog needs her pack, an artist needs her pack as well.

Making work away from the populated areas of the world is a challenge. I call it Island Living – in our case the sea is acres of grasses. 70 miles to the nearest McDonald’s. 180 miles to the nearest Starbuck’s. We make do. We get by. The landscape is wide open and truthful.

These are the elements which I find most important in my work – truth, nature, line, bone and humor.

Stats
Location: Bowman, ND
Schooling: Dickinson State University, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Oxford University
Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts Visual Arts (emphasis Printmaking)
Author: Anne Tyler. Tom Robbins. Richard Russo. Mostly read non-fiction.
Food: Stay away from the gluten.
Beverage: I like cream in my coffee.

Honors/Achievements
Bush Foundation Dakota Creative Connections
North Dakota Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship
Greyhound Club of America Research Grant
Work in all 50 US States & 17 countries.

5 Comments

  1. Julie Sweeney
    May 9, 2012

    Stumbled onto your site looking for garden statues. I am in awe of your work! I started working for a family that shows whippets when I was 16. Almost 30 years later (2 whippets, 1 greyhound and 3 lurchers later), I know the lines of these dogs like the back of my hand. I see that you do too. I have never seen the lines and personalities captured so beautifully – and correctly- at the same time. You have a new fan!

    Reply
  2. Alicia Howell
    July 5, 2012

    I came across your incredibly realistic, beautiful artwork when searching for greyhound art as many greyhound devotees do. I fell in love with retired racing greyhounds 10 years ago when we adopted our first retired racer. I was always drawn to the breed for their beauty and sweet natured disposition. We adopted a petite black female who washed out of training at 18 months because she refused to participate. Ava was what we call a spooky hound and to our dismay took over a year to let go of her fear of everything.

    With our patience and love, Ava blossomed into an amazing companion and friend. She learned to love being close and cuddling with my husband and I. When I became ill with kidney failure at age 28, Ava became my personal pet therapy companion. She was able to sense when I was in pain and would spend hours at my side in bed comforting and watching over me. I never knew an animal could be so insightful and dedicated to a person.

    In March 2012 at the age of 12, Ava left this earthly plain as she spent most days of her life…in my arms. We had to make the hardest decision and let her go. She had devoloped Spinal Stenosis and was becoming paralysed in her rear legs. We fought hard for a year and I cared for her as she did for me. We had to lift her in a harness to get her standing and moving. Eventually, pain took over and my girl was no longer comfortable despite the best medical care. After a horrible night of her crying out in pain as I slept on the floor next to her, I had to let her go. Our Vet came to our home and I sobbingly held her and my husband her paw soothed her until the last beat of her heart. She died as she lived, surrounded by love. Our world has been less beautiful since.

    I tell you all this because when I look at your sculptures, in particular Annie, I see every line and feature of Ava. I feel the urge to touch the screen to feel the firm muscle, hard boney ridges and those incredibly soft rose tucked ears. I used to bury my nose in those ears while I lay spooned around her body when I was needing comfort. Your hands have sculpted the greyhound’s likeness so perfectly. Not just their perfectly designed body but their soul which is as unique as each hound. It is as art should be and elicits an intense feeling in my soul.

    Your sense of humour is evident and your voice is present too. Rabbit on the Brain and Prey Drive capture our ex champion racer Augie perfectly as well. Two retired racing greyhounds could not be more different than Ava and Augie. Augie is always rearing to run and chase. He is huge, goofy and a bit klutsy with his gigantic paws. Ava was far too regal for such silliness. Augie lightens my heart and I see him perfectly in your back roaching posed sculptures. This 90 lb tank of a greyhound sleeps this way every day even when he wore a cast for three months. His broken hock ended his career but brought him to us in the time Ava began losing her legs. He comforted us all in a different way with laughter when we all needed it.

    I just wanted you to know how your art has touched me. It is a talent that I admire and enjoy greatly. I am sure you are becoming more used to accolades as your art captures more attention which you rightfully deserve. I just felt the need to tell you as we will likely never meet. The beauty of the internet is that an Artist in North Dakota has been able to affect a woman in Alabama so greatly though so far away.

    Ava’s ashes sit in a simple wooden box on my dresser for now. I am looking forward and checking your site often as to purchase a more fitting keeper of her physical remains. I can not think of anyone who could capture her essence as you. I also feel sure that one day Augie’s ashes will rest in one of your pieces. Perhaps the roaching hound with the huge paws? Thank you for creating such beauty to ease my loss and make me smile even it may some day look like a Snarl.
    -Alicia

    Reply
    • Martyn Oliver
      November 2, 2012

      No-one has remarked on this rhapsody of a comment; why? Not only is it the most fulsome endorsement of Sarah’s work, it is a testament to the beauty – both material and spiritual – of the greyhound as a breed. And I’d go so far as to extend that testament to all sighthounds; they truly are unlike any other creature.

      So, thank you, Alicia, for writing this. It has made my day, no, my week.

      Martyn

      Reply
  3. Wendy Liopiros
    January 15, 2015

    My Whippet is family, and has cancer. We have some time…. maybe years….. but I am hoping to find some beautiful way to eternalize her. How can I purchase or commission your work?

    Reply
  4. Judy
    January 14, 2016

    what do you charge de small.medium or large statues Love them. Judy

    Reply

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