The dogs are created by first cutting sheet metal to size — each dog is 8 feet high and 10 feet long — then bending and shaping the metal into a dog shape with a “bone” cut out of the side. Each piece is then fitted together with an advanced technique called Tungsten Inert Gas welding.
The dogs are made of a special type of steel that quickly develops a protective layer of rust on the outside, allowing it to be safely exposed to the elements.
This isn’t Rogers’ first Newburyport exhibition: He also has two pieces along the city’s rail trail. The first is called “G Swirl,” a shining, silver curl of metal that emerges from the ground by the waterfront and tapers to a point above the viewer’s head. The second is similar to his dog exhibit: two metal sparrows in flight, connected wing-to-wing off the rail trail.
Rogers has loved Newburyport’s art scene ever since visiting the city as a child while spending time at his family’s second home on Plum Island.
“Newburyport holds a real romantic place in my heart,” he said. “Newburyport has always played a supportive role for artists ... It’s known as an artsy city. For an artist, even if you’re not from the area, you visit there. It’s one of those places that, as an artist, you feel at home.”
Newburyport is just one of many cities that has seen the dog statues on tour. They’ve been exhibited in at least 11 cities in eight different states, from their first home in Massachusetts to as far as Florida and Ohio. After the Mall exhibition, plans are in the works to bring them still farther — to Texas.
“The response from the initial launch in 2009 has been so good that it’s about five years later and it’s still going strong from traveling,” Rogers said. “That says a lot in itself. People see it and they remember it.”