Dd LaRue Artist Review


In modern times unconventional mediums used in the artistic process captivate a questioning audience, asking themselves “How?”. Different mediums open up a host of possibilities so today’s artists can create beyond the classical traditions. Recycled art is made entirely from recycled materials such as plastic bags and trash that is found and repurposed to become works of art. Temporary and fleeting artwork made with food and beverage that vary from coffee to jell-o. Environmental artwork leads to designs carved into sand or built with stone that are placed in nature to be slowly broken down back to their original purpose. New and unconventional mediums challenge even the most practiced artists to push the limits of art and their own abilities. 
Paradigm II, Found Aluminum Cans, 2012 Paul Villinski
Paradigm II, Found Aluminum Cans, 2012
Paul Villinski

Sculpture in modern times continues to push the boundaries of art in new and unexpected ways. All Modernist sculptors work under a philosophy that cherishes innovation, and rejects tradition. Starting with Rodin who is seen as the progenitor of modern sculpture, the hard outlines of what sculpture should be began to be dismantled. Many famous painters also sculpted such as Picasso, Paul Gaugin, and Salvador Dali representing their artistic styles. From Cubism with Picasso, Surrealism with Dali, and Abstract Expressionism with Joan Miro, every artistic style has sculptures as well as paintings to capture their ideas. Today’s Post Modern sculptures range from land and site specific art to minimalist sculptures that capture everyday moments and items and transforms them into works of art.
Balloon Dog  Jeff Koons
The Veiled Virgin, Carrara marble, 1850s
Giovanni Strazza

golden dog in a green vw door
The sculptures of artist DD LaRue combine unconventional materials such as real car doors with hand crafted sculptures of our canine friends. Like the sculptors that came before her, DD seeks to bring life into artwork by working in life size imagery and subject matter. Her whimsical depictions of dogs captures the close relationship between canine and human. Her unique and modern interpretation of the limitless medium of sculpture captures viewers for their innovation and the feelings bliss they emit. Viewer’s can not help but smile as they connect personally with the dogs that feel universally similar in their appearance and spirit.


Principals of Art:

Space: Space is demonstrated to create dimension in the composition. Changes between negative and positive space interact in DD’s sculptures to add distinction and importance in her subject matter. In Golden in Green VW Door note the negative space around the dogs face. This empty space is not filled by DD, instead the negative space is intentionally left clear to help draw attention to the dog as the main focal point.

Color: Bright car doors painted in a wide variety of colors pop against the natural colors of the dogs. These flares of color catch the viewers eye and then draw them closer to view the sculpted dog.  

Shape: The shapes created in DD LaRue’s sculpted dogs contrast in their organic nature from the man made car door. The dogs take on fun wind blown shapes that add to the composition with a fresh breath of life. In Golden in Green VW Door you can see how the windswept ear of the dog reflects the shape of the door in its horizontal nature.

Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. The forms of DD’s dogs are three dimensional, offering the viewer new insight as they walk around the sculpture. The building up of sculpted material adds dimension that makes the dogs feel alive.

Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a work of art is to help create both dimension and a mood in it. The sculptures of DD LaRue lead to natural variations of value as light plays upon it’s surface. The shadows and highlights will shift just as they do on live animals, heightening the reality of the sculpture.

Texture: DD sculpts her dogs to be very textured to reflect the texture of their fur. The furry tendrils of hair on the dogs adds dimension through it’s extensive layering. This effect makes the dogs more visually interesting that the larger car door and captures the viewer’s attention.

Line: The established lines of the car door help frame the sculpture and define the sculptures presence and space. You will notice in Golden in Green VW Door how the interior lines of the window reflect the exterior lines of the car door. This repetition adds a subtle pattern that is subconsciously pleasing for they .

three dogs in a red door dd laure


Principals of Design:

Balance: DD must balance the bright large car door with detail, texture, and color of the dogs. Since the dogs are smaller in proportion, the higher levels of detail make the dogs as visually interesting as the door, so they counterbalance each other.

Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. A feeling of directionality and overlapping subject matter unify the dog to the car door. The clear indication of wind in the dog’s fur align with the direction of the car door. The paws also stand out against the car door, making it feel as if the dog’s body is just hidden behind the door, and they are unified together. 

Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. The variety between the industrious car door and the sculpted dog juxtapose against each other due to their distinct surface and color variations. The combination of these two very different surfaces makes the piece visually interesting and offers the eye a lot to observe and appreciate.

Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. The clear emphasis in DD’s sculptures are the dogs. She draws the viewer’s eye with their texture, blissful expressions, wind blown hair, and realistic coloration.

Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. The windswept nature of the dogs creates a real feeling of movement. The viewer could be forgiven for believing these dogs to be hanging out of a passing car, enjoying the day. This implied movement makes the piece feel more life like and action filled.

golden in a red vw door dd larue dog in door
Frenchie and Pug in a Blue VW Door
Dd Larue

Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. The only real pattern use is established through the pocket of the window in the car door and the door itself. The rectangular shapes reflect each other and add a subconscious rhythm that feels good to the eye.

Perspective: Perspective is what’s creates a three dimensional work of art vs a two dimensional work of art. DD’s sculptures are meant to be hung on the wall, and as the viewer walks around them the form of the dog protrudes towards the viewer. The viewer’s perspective will change as they view the piece from new angles.


DD acquires her car doors from a variety of sources, always preferring the Volkswagen car door for their shape, nostalgia, and cohesion. The car doors are painted with automotive paint that adhere to the surface strongly to remain durable just as a car door would.

To sculpt her dogs, DD often works from many reference photos, especially if the dog is a commission and she has not had the opportunity to meet the pup. Her medium is called neo-cartonnage, which builds upon the materials and process of cartonnage that the Ancient Egyptians used as part of the mummification decoration process.

Traditionally layers of linen or papyrus were covered in plaster to shroud and decorate the covers of the mummified body. Today, DD builds upon these fundamentals while integrating new mediums in the process such as wire, fiberglass, and enamel. It is an extensive layering process of materials, and once completed they are hand painted by DD and attached to the car door.

2 Yellow Labs and a Chocolate Lab in a Yellow VW Door dd larue dog door
2 Yellow Labs and a Chocolate Lab in a Yellow VW Door
DD Larue