Because George Rodrigue based his dog-shape on his studio dog Tiffany, people often assume that the Blue Dog is female. However, the dog developed over the years to be gender neutral, taking on whatever qualities Rodrigue desired in a particular painting. Most often, the Blue Dog reveals something about the artist himself.
In this case, Rodrigue pays homage to Johnny Cash, the Country Western singer and songwriter who, without knowing it, played a large role in the creation of the Blue Dog paintings. It was Cash’s music that most often accompanied Rodrigue in his studio as he painted.
Rodrigue sets the clean, precise dog within a loose and chaotic climate, perhaps revealing the artist’s frustration with the social obligations and albatross of fame.
“All I really want to do is paint,” said Rodrigue, who preferred painting during the quiet of the night, alone in his studio, but for Johnny Cash and the Blue Dog.