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This B.C. artist and his dog go on adventures that look like something out of Game of Thrones

Who knew Vancouver Island looked so much like Westeros? The real star of artist Troy Moth's Instagram is Nikita, a husky mix that could pass as a direwolf.

Who knew Vancouver Island looked so much like Westeros?

Follow Troy Moth on Instagram (@troymoth) for more breathtaking photos like this one. (Instagram/@troymoth)

Name: Troy Moth

Handle: @troymoth

He's been featured in Vogue and Rolling Stone, and his fine art photography is in the permanent collection at the Art Gallery of Victoria, but that's not what you'll typically find on Troy Moth's Instagram. "Somehow," laughs the 32-year-old artist, "my Instagram turned into a dog feed."

Not just any "dog feed," though. Not with that pedigree. But Nikita, his snow-white companion, is definitely the star of this account — and it's because wherever Moth goes, he brings his dog and his camera.

Nikita's a husky mix, Moth explains. "I've always had a little idea that she might have trace amounts of wolf in her." And together, they've run through rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, splashed in the lakes of Northern Quebec and prowled the grassy meadows of Wyoming. Most of what you'll see on his feed was captured near the artist's homebase in Tahsis, B.C. It's a village on Vancouver Island's coast, about 300km northwest of Victoria. There, he and two business partners are developing a variety of projects including an art gallery and brewery/distillery in addition to a tech incubator called Capacitor. Nikita, it would seem, is a silent partner — at least when she's not barking. "She's always with me unless I have to fly," he says. "I mean, she's here right now, lying at my feet."

One of my business partners calls her a direwolf [...] but I know the inside her.- Troy Moth, artist

Their story began four years ago. Moth, who was raised in Sooke, B.C., had recently returned to Vancouver Island after running his own photo studio in Toronto. Through one of the locals, he found Nikita. She was two years old then, and living in an abusive home. Before they met, she'd never left her crate, but now, the world is her dog park — and Moth has documented their journeys together from the start. She joins him on his photo shoots and film projects. She joins him everywhere, really. "I don't really go anywhere to take a picture of her — we just go places," he explains simply. "She needs exercise and I need exercise, and I have my camera and I take pictures." But secluded alpine fields are their favourite places to be — otherworldly mountain landscapes that look like something out of Game of Thrones. "One of my business partners calls her a direwolf every now and then," Moth laughs. "But I know the inside her, which is this little, nervous dog."

Recently, though, Nikita's had to learn how to share the spotlight. Moth's girlfriend has a rescue dog of her own named Loup. "Loup is very similar to Nikita — similar personality. They're both adopted dogs and both alpha females, so the introduction of them was really tricky," Moth says, even though the photos suggest something ruggedly idyllic. The couple is writing a storybook about Nikita and Loup, he says, and he'll be shooting original photos for the project, which they plan to self-publish later this year. But that's just one of the unexpected benefits of letting your Instagram go to the dogs. "I'm sure there must be other photographers who travel around with their dogs," he says, "but I have a hunch that I've gotten jobs because of Nikita. I've definitely had clients ask, 'So...is Nikita coming to the set?'"

Check out these photos from a few of their adventures...

Social media can be so much more than selfies and viral videos — it's increasingly becoming a scratch pad for emerging artists and other creative minds to show off their latest work. Artstagram curates the best visual talent on Instagram, helping bring a little more art into your daily feed.​​

About the Author

Leah Collins

Leah Collins is the Senior Writer at CBC Arts.

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