Ads Top

The Wonderful Art of Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

“Have you scene [sic] my CAT?”, pleaded a crude hand-made poster. Underneath it was a sketch of the missing cat, apparently drawn by a child. It looked like a fish with legs.

“DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN”, screamed another poster. The accompanied image of the missing black poodle was a big featureless blotch of black, as if somebody had accidently knocked over the ink pot while making the poster.

The illustrations in these missing pet posters, made by people with little artistic skills, are hilarious. Yet, there is a touch of sadness in them, a heartbreaking desperation. Fast Company writer Carey Dunne calls them “one of the saddest design projects”.

Canadian artist Ian Phillips became fascinated with these unusual form of public communication and creative expression nearly twenty years ago after he helped his roommate find her lost cat. Obsessed with finding and collecting missing pet posters, he sent out an open call for people around the world to send to him posters they had designed themselves or collected from telephone poles, car windshields, and bulletin boards. The collection was published into an adorable book called Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters from Around the World, featuring posters from six continents.

“Each one is a heartbreaking story about love, loss, and friendship, illustrated with folksy artwork,” Phillips writes in an introduction. “Though they’re cheaply made and quickly destroyed, pet owners pour their hearts into them, exposing deep emotions to an unknown telephone-pole audience.”

Missing Pet Posters

“I think the posters are as much about the pet owner as they are about the missing loved one,” Philips observed.

For instance, Phillips noticed that posters for missing cats tend to be lighter in tone and sillier than posters for missing dogs. “The dog posters seem more desperate. I guess people have a different relationship there,” he said.

Most of the dog posters also promise cash reward for recovery or information. Others appeal directly to the kidnappers. “Children crying” reads one in an attempt to guilt-trip the abductors. Another promises “no questions asked” if the dachshund is safely returned. It is natural for owners to want their beloved pets back unharmed, although one rabbit in France would have been taken back “vivant ou mort” (alive or dead).

Philips deliberately left out recovery information in his book, about what happened to the lost animals, “because I wanted that mystery to remain.” It’s part of the experience of losing a pet, he said. “You so rarely know.”

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Missing Pet Posters

Ads bottom

Powered by Blogger.