Brushing up on sport
Published: 17 Feb 2016
Dod Dow is 61 and an artist from Aberdeen.
YOU’VE DONE A FEW THINGS WITH ABERDEEN FOOTBALL CLUB OVER THE YEARS, IS THAT RIGHT?
Yeah I suppose you could call me their unofficial official artist.
The first thing I did was back in 2003 for their centenary, I did a legends picture with views of Pittodrie. There were 25 legends in the painting, the print was called Legends of the First 100 Years.
HOW DID THAT FIRST ONE COME ABOUT?
I had done a Golf Open Champions collage in 2000 and then when I knew the centenary for Aberdeen Football Club was coming up, I went down to Pittodrie and showed them what I had done and suggested that I could do something similar for them.
There was an events company who had been commissioned to arrange all the centenary events and they said yes, good idea.
So I did the artwork and the prints were produced from that. 1,000 prints were issued, the first 100 being signed by Alex Ferguson and some of the legends.
It was great to meet some of the legends who were included in the artwork. Bobby Clark came over for the launch and I went to see Fred Martin and Archie Baird.
Charlie Cook, my childhood hero, phoned me from the States to thank me. I had sent him a print plus my copy for him to sign. I also did this with Zoltan Varga and Graham Leggat.
SO WHAT DID YOU DO NEXT?
I did the Gothenburg Greats in 2008 for the 25th anniversary. It was a similar idea but a separate organisation that was involved.
We did 250 prints, the first 100 were signed by the whole Gothenburg squad, so I got to meet most of them.
Then I did a Pittodrie Years picture which was different views of the stadium over the years with the varying fans. That’s also on sale in the Pittodrie shop.
In 2014, of course, Aberdeen FC won the League Cup so I did a painting and prints to commemorate that. A limited edition of 100 prints all signed by the manager Derek McInnes and five players.
THE LATEST PROJECT IS PORTRAITS OF INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS. WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND THAT?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, for the younger fans.
The problem with doing individual portraits in the past has been that players might leave prematurely. You were reluctant to do portraits and then find the next minute they are no longer there.
But for the past couple of seasons the Aberdeen squad has stayed mostly the same. So I said to the shop I’d like to try for the individual portraits again, and the shop manager Jason Hill, who is a switched-on, go-ahead guy, agreed.
I started the individual portraits at the end of last year. The shop advised me who to do first. I’ve done eight now and I’ll hopefully do the rest of the squad. The players sign the prints.
SO WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR THE PORTRAITS?
Firstly I look through and choose the images I want to use and buy them from a press site online. I pick the ones I think will make good action shots and fit well in the composition.
The images are bang up to date with the new strips. There are three oil painted images and one pencil head and shoulders drawing. An individual portrait just takes me a couple of weeks, the larger cup-winning and legends montages take me months.
AND DO YOU SUPPORT ABERDEEN FOOTBALL CLUB?
Yes of course, I am from Aberdeen – who else would I support?
DO YOU DO OTHER WORK TOO?
Yes, people do commission me to do various things, which is really my bread and butter.
One I did recently for example was commissioned by colleagues of a commercial property guy who was retiring and they asked me to do a montage painting of all the buildings he was involved in. Commissions can be any subject.
I’ve also been asked to do golf courses paintings. I did one for the centenary of Kemnay Golf Club in 2008 and then the same for Kintore in 2011. I’ve covered the Open Champions again in golf too.
SO YOU ARE A FULL-TIME ARTIST?
I am and have been for the past 20 years. I have no other source of income. It’s like anything else, it’s had its ups and downs. I have a studio in my loft.
I went to art school in Aberdeen in the good old days of the 70s. I had various jobs after leaving and became a taxi driver for a while but I always did art work during that time.
I was married quite young with three of a family so the priority was just to earn a living. They have all flown the coop and are thankfully all financially independent. So I started to concentrate more on my own career when they left home, which has been a while now.
WHERE DID YOUR INTEREST IN ART COME FROM?
I take after my father, who was a commercial artist. He was a sign writer when they used to do it all by hand on the boards. In the 50s he worked on the signs at Pittodrie.
He told me this story that one day he was there and he had just finished priming the wall white to get it ready for the sign and George Hamilton, who played for the team at the time, starting hitting his ball off the freshly painted wall.
My dad had to go get his boss to tell the then Aberdeen manager to tell George Hamilton to stop it. So that’s a funny story.
I have another couple of connections with Pittodrie. My great-grandfather’s sister was married to the first Aberdeen manager, Jimmy Philip and I’ve played at Pittodrie, way back, when I went to Abbotswell primary school.
They used to hold the schools’ cup finals there. I think it later became the Denis Law Cup and I remember they would lower the crossbar for us.
In my Pittodrie Years painting I’ve included my father’s name – George Forsyth Dow – along the low wall.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST?
I like being creative and producing something from scratch. I just enjoy the challenge of the different painting subjects I get to do. I do love the football ones though.
To see more of Dod’s work, visit www.doddow.com