Wk 6 – Artist Conversation – The Origin of Doge

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Must Destroy, Wow
Unknown Artist
water color on paper
30″ x 20″
2017
CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery

There was once a Shiba Inu named Kabosu. He lived most of his life alone having been abandoned on the streets of Tokyo at a very young age, but he never felt lonely. Wherever he went, people always treated him kindly. Strangers always pet him and gave him snacks because they couldn’t resist the adorable dog that confidently wandered the streets. He loved the freedom and attention he got from being a stray dog and actually felt bad for domesticated pets.

One day, however, he found himself drawn to a friendly looking woman who had dog biscuits to offer him. Usually when people offered him snacks, it wasn’t dog snacks and they would just hand him their leftovers, so he was excited to see he would get some of the fancy stuff today.To Kabosu’s dismay, the woman turned out to work for an animal shelter and he soon found himself trapped in a world of vets and confined spaces.

On the bright side, Kabosu didn’t have to stay in the animal shelter very long. A kindergarten teacher, Atsuko Sato, couldn’t resist Kabosu’s cute, expressive face and took him home. Atsuko knew that Kabosu was a special dog – he was more independent than most dogs and his facial expressions resembled those of human’s. Wanting to share just how special Kabosu was, Atsuko photographed a series of Kabosu’s facial expressions and posted them on her personal blog.

Kabosu knew that Atsuko was a kind woman, but he couldn’t help but feel angry towards her for being part of the reason he’s no longer on the streets. He also wasn’t used to getting so much attention from one person; he was so used to people getting bored and leaving him after a short amount of time that he felt smothered by her. He found it very strange that his owner was so obsessed with him to the point of having a photoshoot and writing about him. In one of the photos, Atsuko caught Kabosu giving attitude as he was side-eyeing her. This photo soon became viral and is now known as a “Doge Meme.” Captions went along the lines of “Much ____. Such wow.”

Shiba Inus have now been subject to all kinds of jokes after becoming a meme. Owners started to smother their Shibas with even more attention, recording and posting their dog’s everyday antics for views. Kabosu is no longer the only famous Shiba, as other Shiba Inus now have their own Instagram accounts and made the subject of everyone’s attention. Some dogs are now even being forced by their owners to travel around the world to take photos with their fans.

Most Shibas did not enjoy their newfound fame and would much rather go back to their days of staying at home and living simple lives. Shibas from all over the world started to talk to other dogs, spreading the word about how Kabosu and his owner is to blame. The Shibas eventually teamed up to create the “Much Destroy, Wow” movement. One Shiba went out of his way to act out against its owner so that a dog whisperer would be called in to help. That Shiba described the movement to the dog whisperer in hopes that he would help spread the word to humans. As a result, the dog whisperer asked an artist to create a piece of art that would help the Shibas in their cause. That piece of art is pictured above, and shows a Shiba Inu destroying Tokyo – Kabosu’s hometown – as a message for both Kabosu’s owner and other owners to stop the spread of Doge memes.

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