Ravi Zupa’s work is specially built to “Strike Your Fancy.” Eschewing digital processes, this completely self-taught artist produces everything by hand. Using oil-based intaglio ink and a unique woodblock printing process, Zupa aims to bring together “seemingly unrelated images in search of something universal” in his “Strike Your Fancy” matchbook series.
In his first series of artful matchbooks, Zupa featured a collection of cats getting drunk at the bar. Naturally, with his latest series, the artist has taken the next step, moving from the feline to their natural frenemy, dogs. Here, Zupa presents his pups as cheeky representations of the “complicated personalities of us humans,” the self-important, the moody, the defiant in all of us.
One of the genius parts of this series are the way the artist pairs dog breeds to the human expression he aims to send up. Uses the resting faces of their demeanor and temperament to reflect the absurdity of the human species. Take the golden retriever matchbook. Zupa depicts a retriever standing with a serious look, holding a drink in one paw while sucking on a pipe hanging from its mouth. The matchbook reads,“My thoughts are so profound,” while we see the self-serious look of a golden retrieverand how it mirrors the professorial absurdity of the classic intellectual. Another favorite is the classic pug. One of the few dogs Zupa dressed in human wardrobe, we see a tan/black pug in a white-collared shirt and tweed vest. The wounded, always ready to pout and cry face of a pug is captioned with, “If I’m honest I want people to feel sorry forme.” We’ve all encountered these kinds of people in our lives, the woe is me quality we can instantly recognize. It’s true of all of Zupa’s dogs. The cheeky human insight rings true, perfectly expressed through the dogs we all know and love.