The Unchained Dog: A Chat with Nirit Levav

by Michell Spoden

If you have a love for dogs and are art-savvy, this is the something just for you. What an amazing creative concept making dogs out of recycled items and with such precision. We can learn more about that with Nirit Levav, an artist from Israel.

Michell: Please tell briefly about yourself.

Nirit Levav

Nirit Levav

Nirit Levav: My name is Nirit Levav. I am 50 years old. I was born and raised in Israel, where I live today with my husband and four beautiful sons. I am an artist. I started my professional life as a fashion designer.

Michell: How did it all begin with your dog art?

Nirit Levav: As an artist, I had a tendency to spread myself thin. I dabbled in all walks of the art. I made ceramic dishes and sculptures; I was a jewelry maker; I created murals and I designed wedding dresses. I experimented and worked with a vast array of materials. I made sculptures out of hand watches, keys, clothe pins, gravel, matches, chickpeas and many others. In 2007 I made a sculpture of a Rottweiler dog made of bicycle chains. After I made him, I kept making various sculptures the dog was just another one of my many creations. About three years ago, I decided that I should narrow my creative efforts to one subject made out of one kind of substance. This was a result of my inclination that people don’t understand me or my art, since I am too “all over the place” with my creativity. I chose to create dogs out of bicycle chains, and other bicycle parts.

Michell: Have you ever thought about doing other animals such as dinosaurs or ocean creatures? This could be something great for zoos and museums?

Nirit Levav: I have created many other animals in my career. I made a turtle out of gear wheels, an owl out of antique keys, a butterfly out of motorcycle garage parts, a squirrel out of acorns, a bird out of clothes pins and a spider out of huge nails. I haven’t made any dinosaurs or ocean creatures ye, but who knows? I just might in the future.

Michell: Do you support any causes through your business?

Nirit Levav: I had a joint venture with the Israel Center for Seeing Eye Dogs. We put on an art show of my dogs. A good part of the proceeds went to the center.

Michell: How do you feel dogs impact the way in which we look at life?

Nirit Levav: Dogs are creatures who need us, humans, to take care of them. They are not wild animals, they are house pets. I feel that there are many people who show a great tolerance and compassion to dogs. I would like to see the same behavior amongst all people around the world. Maybe dogs can serve as an influence for people to be better to others.

Michell: Can anyone donate their recycled goods to your company? If so how can they do that?

Nirit Levav: I am not a company. I work on my own in my studio with one apprentice. I collect my materials, my “junk”, in my natural surroundings. My friends and family give me all the stuff they would normally throw out. The local bike shop gives me all their leftovers and for now that is what I need to work with. I hope that in the future I will grow and need the assistance of the global world to supply me my materials.

Michell: The art world is a very competitive environment; if you could give advice to any artist, what would it be?

Nirit Levav: I think that the best advice I can give a young artist is to create to your heart’s content. To work from your own gut, not to follow a “fashion”. Each person’s creativity is within him. Work with that. Another important point I want to convey is that if you are not good at marketing, get someone to help you with that. The artist should concentrate on his creativity.

Michell: What is your motto in life?

Nirit Levav: Be true to yourself.

Michell: Please share with us about your future goals

Nirit Levav: To keep creating and evolving as an artist. To gain recognition around the world. To keep enjoying what I do. At this point in my career I am busy working on a new series which I call “Art and Fashion”. I am in the midst of creating sculptures of dresses made out of different materials that I like to work with. For me this is a culmination of my two worlds—the fashion I came from and the sculpting that I am so involved in at this point in my life.

Catch a glimpse of Nirit’s work in this YouTube video. Visit the artist’s website http://www.niritlevav.com/ to read more about her work.

About the Interviewer

Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for woman with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.

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