STREET artist My Dog Sighs is collecting food for those in need – with the help of one of his murals.
My Dog has attached shopping bags to the ‘Southsea Hug’ in Albert Road for people to drop off donations of food.
The artist met many homeless people while painting the mural which inspired him to raise £3,000 for local mental health and homeless charities by selling a limited edition of the print two years ago.
In the past few days, someone anonymously spray-painted ‘feed the homeless’ across the mural and My Dog said that got him thinking about what else he could do to help homeless people, so he decided to add the bags.
My Dog said: ‘It’s never a good thing when something you’ve worked hard on gets tagged.
‘But when producing work on the street you have to accept that once it is out there there’s nothing you can do.
‘Having said that there is generally a really good respect between the artists and writers in the city.
‘With this wall I really wanted to consider my response to the tagger. It’s all too easy to get fed up but I wanted to challenge myself to respond in the most positive way.
‘I wanted this random act of vandalism to work in a positive way. The bags seemed an appropriate way to do it.’
This desire to help meant that My Dog hung bags on the hands of his Everyman so they could be filled with non-perishable food. Anyone passing the bags can fill them with food to go to those less fortunate.
My Dog said he was delighted with the response so far. ‘It’s been incredible,’ he said. ‘The bags were empty an hour after I filled them but since then they’ve been continuously full. Lots of people have messaged to say they’ve gone to put things in but there’s no room.
‘I’m now encouraging people to take their donations to official food banks and homeless shelters like LifeHouse, Portsmouth Food Bank, Helping Hands Portsmouth and The Society of St James.’
He added: ‘More than anything I hope it will raise awareness of both the need of vulnerable people in the city and raise awareness of all the incredible work from organisations across the city who provide food, support and advice for people. Long after this wall they’ll still be there supporting people in need.’
My Dog Sighs is internationally recognised with a large online following and supporters in Israel and Japan. Over the past few years numerous pieces of his street art have been painted on buildings across Portsmouth. The Southsea Hug is at 190 Albert Road.