If someone tells you that you “can’t miss” the entrance to Barkingham Pet Hotel California in Palm Desert, believe it. The luxury boarding, grooming and training center is marked by a dazzling turquoise-colored metal sculpture of an Afghan dog, created by artists Tony and Karen Barone. Known worldwide for their larger-than-life paintings and metal sculptures, the Barones created Jezebel using their signature sparkly “show-car” paint with an exotic patina.
Local residents Tony and Karen’s fun and quirky oversized sculptures can be seen all over the Coachella Valley. Among the many forms of art they practice, from paintings to architecture, the Barones created these jumbo-scale sculptures as part of their “art in public places” ArtAdoption program. The program enlists the private sector to fund public art sculpture that is gifted to cities, parks, schools and animal shelters throughout the Palm Springs area and around the world. The Jezebel sculpture was commissioned by Barkingham owner Lori Weiner, and she couldn’t be happier with the result.
The stately Afghan hound is fashioned after a character in a mystery book collection authored by Weiner, the Dino Vicelli series. In the series, the Afghan is the “beautiful blonde love interest” of Weiner’s main character, the Italian greyhound Dino Vicelli, private eye.
Designed especially for Barkingham’s spacious 22,000-square-foot facility, the sculpture rises out of the desert, a gleaming beacon for pet owners who want their pets to experience the luxury accommodations, wellness spa, and professional training offered at Barkingham. You can’t cruise down Dinah Shore Drive without seeing Jezebel shimmering in front of the hotel, guiding you through the mainly light industrial office district that parallels Interstate 10, near the intersection of Monterey Avenue and Dinah Shore Drive.
Local author Grace Robbins attended Jezebel’s installation in May and was bow- “wowed” by the style and scale of the sculpture, “What a perfect pairing—a noble dog, standing proud to welcome new and vintage clients to a state-of-the-art building, including outdoor areas for walking and exercise, for our pets. This is an asset to our canine community, knowing that our pets have access to such a professional, immaculate and, most of all, friendly facility, where a range of services and boarding choices are available. “
As for artists Karen and Tony Barone, their larger-than-life sculptures bring a splash of creativity to the Coachella Valley. Phyllis Eisenberg (not a pet owner but a fan of the Barones’ art) said the artists have “created a bold, stylish work of art linking the public to the importance of respecting and caring for our pets. This sets an example for the next generation of pet parents.”
The oversized, playful Barone sculptures found throughout the valley link our cities, from Palm Springs to Palm Desert and beyond, by adding an artistically influential feline and canine flair to the desert.