Dion Beasley – Cheeky Dog Art

[NOTE 15-5-2013
I have noticed a lot of hits on this post over the last few days.  Please note that unfortunately the link to reading more about Dion Beasley and to the Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Cultural Centre are no longer valid.  I do not know whether they are still carrying Cheeky Dog products.  At the present time there is no official website but one is under construction.  In the meantime, check out Dion’s first book at the site below; the book’s author is Johanna Bell.
When the Cheeky Dog website is up and running I’ll set a link.]

This week I thought I’d spotlight one of the Northern Territory’s best kept secrets.  His name is Dion Beasley and he is a talented artist from Tennant Creek here in the NT.  He is responsible for the distinctive ‘Cheeky Dog’ designs that can be seen worn on t-shirts around Darwin.  What is amazing is that Dion is profoundly deaf and suffers muscular dystrophy.  You can read more about him here.  I think his story is pretty special and worth a read.  There are funds set up to ensure that intellectual property rights of his Cheeky Dog artworks are protected and thus his income can be protected.

You may well be wondering what a cheeky dog is… it’s hard to explain the term, but I’ll give it it a shot.  I think it originates from the more remote communities of the NT.  In many communities here (and I’m not sure if this holds in the rest of Australia) you will find lots of dogs roaming around.  They are often homeless and can form packs.  They can be aggressive.  They are known as camp dogs and I have many friends who have worked out on the communities who are now the proud owners of a camp dog.  You would be well-advised to steer clear of camp dog ownership unless you’ve got a lot of experience and a lot of patience.  And often a lot of money to (a) get them out of the Council’s pound each time they escape and (b) treat all the ailments with which they can present.  All my friends’ camp dogs are expert escape artists and I can only surmise that freedom is hard to give up when you’ve lived the life of a camp dog!  Anyhow, if you are out walking your dog here and someone asks ‘Is your dog a cheeky dog?’ it’s something akin to the famous line from Pink Panther ‘Does your dog bite?’.  Many camp dogs are ‘cheeky dogs’.

I have three Cheeky Dog t-shirts myself as do many of my friends.  I would love it if you would visit the Nyinkkanyunyu Art and Cultural Centre website and check out the Cheeky Dog things on offer.  They make great gifts and I’m pretty sure that they won’t be a common sight outside of Australia…

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22 Responses to Dion Beasley – Cheeky Dog Art

  1. raisingdaisy says:

    Cute stuff on the cheeky dog site! I never knew about these dogs – so interesting!

  2. Great post – helping out others. Cool stuff on the link. I think it’s time for another trip to Aussie!

  3. I can see you again! Whew! I just spent a good 20 minutes going through Dion’s story and the catalogue. I had to enlarge the pictures to see the cute little drawings. The titles don’t always match. I wonder if they’re aware of that! I LOVE the tea towels! I’m wondering how many I can order without raising The Cushions ire.

    What a great plug, Flo’s mum. Loved your background to cheeky too. Well done! BTW, is your name H?

    • Flo says:

      Thanks for visiting the site, glad you liked the stuff. They may well not know that not everything matches up. He used to have his own website but when I was looking for it yesterday noticed that his work is only on the Arts Centre site now. Hopefully they’ll sort out those little problems as they go along. We can buy things in a shop here in Darwin but they have some different things up on the site. I love the Cheeky Dog stuff – I have t-shirts with a ‘well travelled cheeky dog’, ‘all sorts of cheeky dogs’ and ‘cheeky dog beware’. 🙂

      H (v Bond-esque, don’t you think?)

  4. Declan says:

    I will get Mum to head over there immediately! She says she’s been to Tennant Creek – stayed in a really BAD backpacker hostel there! Deccy x

    • Flo says:

      I’m not sure that BAD wasn’t the best you could do in TC… but it’s been a decade since I was there and I’m sure it’s moved on… :s I hope you like the stuff on the site. 🙂

  5. Those designs are cute. I especially like the find dining cheekydog. Amazing that the guy is blind!

  6. Fabulous designs. I really liked them.

    So what you’re saying is that “cheeky dog” is classic Australian understatement for a “dog who will make lunch meat sandwiches from your face if he decides he doesn’t like you much?” 🙂

  7. Rose from Oz says:

    Terrific links, I really enjoyed myself. Yes I knew of the Cheeky Dog range, kids have some of the items and I’m about to get a shoulder bag! Til ya tell us otherwise I’m going to call you “H” :))

    • Flo says:

      Yay, glad you’ve heard of him and his stuff. I think it’s great, really quirky. Which bag are you going for?

      • Rose from Oz says:

        No contest – just have to have the “Cheeky Dogs” Cheeky Dog Bag, cos I’ve got lotsa dogs and they’re “cheeky”!!

  8. Thank you so much for this post. It was lovely to learn about the ‘cheeky dog’ design and about Dion Beasley. It’s a pity that international postage is so expensive…
    I love the designs and was most amused by the ‘cheeky dog chasing cheeky cats’ painting. He really has a talent and I hope that many Aussies get to know about him.
    Sending lotsaluv

  9. Loved the Art – really cute, thanks for telling us about it 🙂

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  10. Hey Flo, Jet here. Hi Miss H.

    Wow, we would have never learned about this without you! Thank you for sharing. BTW, the museum has a beautifully designed roof. The Cheeky Dog designs are great, scrolled down quite a while. The artist is quite inspiring. Great post.

  11. holajohanna says:

    Hi Flo, Did you know Dion Beasley has just launched his first picture book? Read all about it at http://www.toomanycheekydogs.com.au and there is a phone contact that people can call to purchase DIon’s tshirts. He’s having a new website made but best to use the good ol’ telephone in the mean time. Regards, Johanna Bell

    • Flo says:

      Thanks for that Johanna. I had seen that he had a book on my search for a new website to link to my post. I’m glad there’s an official site coming because I knew the links weren’t working any more and I only want to link to legit sites. I am getting a lot of search engine hits on this page as folk try to buy Cheeky Dog items online so would love to be able to direct them to the right spot. 🙂

  12. Bonnie says:

    Flo, thanks for keeping us up to date on where/when we can purchase t shirts. We have been trying to find out since we’ve been back in the States. We saw the documentary on Dion while in Australia and loved the t shirts and that the funds went to help him and his care givers/therapists. I’ll keep checking back for web info since the phone number won’t help me here.

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