The day before his 31st birthday, all Brazilian artist Rafael Mantesso had left after his ex-wife took all the furniture in their divorce was an empty white house and a bull terrier named Jimmy Choo.
During therapy to try and save his troubled marriage, Mantesso discovered he has Asperger’s syndrome and is hyperactive, explaining why he had always been introverted. “As a child, I was very shy, anti-social,” he said.
But Mantesso has always been close to man’s best friend, so when he and his wife split, they decided he would get Jimmy Choo. The dog was one good thing to come out of the rough divorce. “He is the best partner ever,” Mantesso said. “[He is] definitely my best friend and companion.”
Mantesso started to shoot photos of Jimmy in his deserted house. “One day I was playing with him in the room and decided to make this picture, holding his hand [while showing the] affection and friendship that existed there,” the artist told TODAY.com.
That's when Mantesso realized he could use his creativity to bring his designs together with his best friend. Jimmy was always sitting by Mantesso’s side when he was being creative, so the natural evolution of his process was to include his favorite companion. “This photo [birthed] the idea of the other, [shooting Jimmy] against a white background, doing something or interacting with something.”
“Drawing relaxes me, but it is a way I [also] express myself,” Mantesso said. “I like that, to speak without saying a word or post photos without captions.”
The situations Mantesso and Jimmy Choo create together are carefully composed and are fun creations.
“[It] is very easy [to] photograph him,” Mantesso said, thought he admits, “It’s really messy when I’m photographing him. He has been trained, so he knows the voice command 'stay.'"
Mantesso continues to produce adorable pieces with Jimmy. "I sleep little and [I] produce a lot," he said. I know how to draw [and] the ideas do not end."