Dog-gone beautiful

Our Pet Portraits feature this month is about real pet portraits.

With a style that could be described as Andy Warhol meets Keith Haring, Dean Russo’s soulful portraits of pets have captured the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. 

Known for the expressive faces of the cats and dogs he captures on canvas, Russo thinks his paintings create an emotional connection with the viewer. He believes it’s all in the eyes. “For me, the eyes of the animal are how they communicate.”

An accomplished graphic artist and native Brooklynite, Russo has a signature style that was influenced by the urban art of the streets he calls home. Filled with bold colors that juxtapose abstract patterns, his colorful and vibrant pieces are created using a minimum of 10 mediums — everything from pastels, oils, pencils, wax and charcoal to Sharpie markers, spray cans, liquid acrylics and more.  

The story behind Russo’s eye-catching portraits is a parable of animal rescue awareness. Russo would visit shelters and ask for photographs of adoptable pets to paint. He would then donate proceeds from the paintings back to the shelter.

He and his unique paintings soon developed a loyal following. Fast forward a decade and Russo has become a bonafide pop-art sensation.  His canvases can be found throughout the graphic art world, in galleries, private collections and in licensed merchandise everywhere.

Looking for a budget-friendly holiday gift? Check out the complete line of lined writing journals featuring Russo’s prints published by Quiet Fox Design, an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing.

For a one-of a kind, custom portrait of your own pet, visit or

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