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A Man and His Dog: From Marriage Breakdown To A New Career

  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • July 17, 2015 at 10:06 AM

Sometimes the most challenging moments in life can lead to great things, especially with the help, support and unconditional love of a four-footed friend.

In Rafael Mantesso’s case, the dog he’d bought with his wife was one of the only things she left behind when their marriage broke down.

“The only thing she didn’t take was my bull terrier, whom she’d named after her favorite shoe designer: Jimmy Choo,” Mantesso recalls in an article published by Bored Panda.

He’d just turned 30, and his newly sparse apartment left him and Jimmy with a lot of room for change. In the days and months that proceeded, Mantesso was inspired by Jimmy’s antics as he ran around the house, photographing his adventures.

“When Jimmy collapsed in happy exhaustion next to the white wall, I grabbed a marker and drew a new world around his ginger-eared pup. Suddenly, I felt his long-dormant inspiration for drawing, for art, for life—returning,” he says.

“I created a series of fun, tongue-in-cheek illustrations, portraying my bull terrier dreaming of shoes, relaxing on a sofa with a martini by his side or turning canine DJ on the decks.”

Mantesso’s pictures have gained a huge following online: he now has over 300,000 followers on Instagram, 15,000 Facebook fans and a book of his favourite pictures of Jimmy that recently become a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

Mantesso and Jimmy’s antics have captured the imagination and hearts of thousands of people around the world, and even reached execs in the offices of designer Jimmy Choo. The fashion giant, the man and his dear dog have since collaborated on a capsule collection of accessories featuring Mantesso’s illustrations and starring Jimmy (the bull terrier).

“Our Creative Director, Sandra Choi was so enchanted by the charming drawings that she approached the artist directly, commissioning him to create a series of fun, tongue-in-cheek illustrations to decorate a selection of Jimmy Choo accessories,” the design company says.

Mantesso has expressed gratitude and amazement at the response he and Jimmy have received over the past couple of years. And with his book at number one on Amazon, he still remains in awe of the power of their friendship and collaboration, saying on Instagram:

“OMG!! Jimmy’s book is the 1st on Amazon on two categories! Im (sic) crying a river. love u my friend!”

With such fun images and a heartwarming story, Jimmy the bull terrier could end up reaching the same level of fame as his namesake in no time at all.

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