My name is Nitzan, I’m 30 years old, and I’m an interior designer. I am originally from a small nature-y area of Israel, but I moved to the United States when I was 12, and two years ago I moved to Mexico with my now husband. We got Sasha soon after moving to Mexico City, she’s a red merle Australian Shepherd, she’s with me 24/7 whether I’m working or not! She’s the sweetest, most sensitive dog I’ve ever known.
I have lived in five different cities within the mentioned countries including New York City, Tel Aviv and now Mexico City. I have grown to LOVE the urban life. Which is where the murals come in…
When did you decide you wanted to photograph Sasha with murals in the background?
Moving around is tough at first, and I found that walking around the streets and getting to know the different neighborhoods helps me connect to the city. I have always done it, even before I had Sasha. I am fascinated with the architecture and the people and the history. Then I got Sasha and I had an even better reason to wander for hours… My dog gets a long walk and I get to sight see. She’s happy, I’m happy! And it became a tradition, she became my little partner… I found some beautiful colorful walls along the streets of Mexico City, and some amazing murals! I had to start taking pictures, and since she is always with me, I would have her model with the walls, I thought it was so cute that I had to do it again, and again, and again…..
When did you realize you needed to start another page just dedicated to owners that love to photograph their dogs near murals too?
It all started with the #SashaWallCrawl hashtag. I had people DM me and comments like “You’re making me want to go explore my city”, “How do you find all these murals?" Or tags of other dogs with murals. So at some point I felt I needed to share the pictures and encourage others to go out there and see the art in their cities! A lot of people started participating and although the wall crawl is still running today, I decided to bring it to life to more people with Dogs Love Murals and encourage them explore and snap their pups with the art and colors.
And why? Because It’s a great way to get some fresh air with your dog, especially comforting during covid times when we are not able to go to museums, galleries or the movies - and to experience new things - free art by amazing artists, with your dog, practice those photography skills, get your creative juices flowing. There are so many beautiful colors and messages in these murals, it was giving me a lot of happiness and I wanted to share it with people in other countries and give them a daily pop of happiness, the same way it does to me.
Another thing I love about more people posting their dogs with murals on Instagram is supporting the artist. If you look closely almost every mural has a name and sometimes even an instagram username. By tagging the artist you’re exposing them to more audience and supporting their work!
What inspires you about these murals you see on your daily walks?
I am fascinated with art in these large scales on the streets. I find it the equivalent of...if your favorite music suddenly appeared in the background while you go on about your daily life. I’m not talking about earphones, I mean like it just appears for everyone to hear in the background and fits your current scene and makes you smile or think!
So with street art, you’re walking down the street, you look up, and there’s a gem, for free, that an artist came and painted on their own time for your enjoyment or awareness. It makes everything so much more beautiful or important! It could be on an old torn down building and you wouldn’t even notice it anymore. Some murals have a general positive message, like unity, hope, love, and some have very specific and very important messages such as for the Black Lives Matter movement, or LGBTQ Pride. The artists make their messages large and unique in a way that allows others to take pictures and spread the message and awareness across the world through social media. Other murals don’t have a message with words, but the art itself, and it’s incredible, and I know that to paint on such a scale and conditions (e.g. brick) is so much harder! Respect for those artists!
Which murals are your favorite so far?
This is a hard question!!!! I post all my favorites! The ones I’m really into right now are by Alina Kiliwa (@alinekiliwa). She uses typography to spread positive messages.
Do you find murals randomly or do you research them prior to your walk with Sasha?
At the beginning I used to randomly find them, I still do many many times. But what I’ve grown to love is connecting with the artists through instagram, and finding more of their art, and that way I know which areas I want to go explore next. One example is that when we were living in California a few months ago, I randomly found a mural I loved, and when I looked up the artist I saw he’s actually from Mexico City. So when we came back home I went to see some of his art in Mexico. I thought that was pretty cool that I can do a mural hunt across countries.
Have you seen an artist painting while you were on a walk?
In San Francisco near the Painted Ladies Park there is a row of murals. We got so lucky to walk by one day when five different artists where painting their new murals. It was such a unique experience. Each artist had their own style and their own tools. They were all so nice to Sasha and she got to help them paint! Just kidding.
Any tips on taking photos of your dog outside?
Sasha is a working dog. She is so so hyper in the mornings. This doesn’t apply to every dog but I always take her on a run or a park before mural hunting. She needs to get all that energy out before strolling casually or posing for a picture, that’s not enough exercise for her. Your dog may need that before he or she gives you that big smile for the picture! Think about what your dog needs before anything.
An important thing is to teach them the STAY command really well so you can take a few snaps. You can also use treats in your shoot, or a squeaky toy they love, those can get you really cute faces. But changing it up so they don’t get used to the same sounds. Using your multiple snaps feature on your camera can also help, because dogs change their face expressions so fast. Have fun with your dog! Don’t force them… If they get over it, leave and come back another day! For best lighting take pictures in day time, preferably in the shade, so you don’t get those harsh light and shadows on their face.
Keep your eyes open! Whether it’s an artist on instagram or a walk down the street, try to be present and you’ll start to notice all the art around you!