From Celebrity Photographer to Designing the World’s Priciest Poop Scooper

Before Leon Ndemo became renowned as “Shades the Artist,” the man behind the World’s Most Expensive Pooper Scooper, and other works of fine art such as “Shaq in a Hat”, he led a fascinating double life rubbing elbows with the top lawyers and celebrities in LA.

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Photo Credit: Leon Ndemo

As the official photographer for 7 years to LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Leon photographed high profile lawyers like Mark Geragos and events with special guests like Shaquille O’Neal. In fact, during a hush-hush meeting between the DA’s office and Shaq, the NBA legend good-naturedly posed for Leon and said “I’ll pose for you.” The resulting photograph was turned into a photorealistic drawing that fetched top dollar at a silent auction.

But Leon’s sights were set on more than photography. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he envisioned combining form and function into the ultimate pooper scooper suited for discerning owners and dogs alike.

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Photo Credit: Leon Ndemo

The spark of inspiration came in 2016 when Leon lived in the upscale Silicon Beach neighborhood of LA (home to Google, Apple, and Amazon offices). Despite the pristine location, residents struggled with a dog poop problem as owners failed to pick up after their pups. Leon vividly remembers when a neighbor’s unscooped gift was left on his own doorstep.

Fed up with the mess and lack of solutions, Leon crafted an early prototype from a Chlorox bottle that got the job done. But for Silicon Beach residents, utility wasn’t enough…it also needed style.

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Photo Credit: Merch for Dog Lovers LLC

For years, Leon perfected the design – enlisting feedback from his wife Holly and daughter Kalyx who joked it must be the world’s most expensive pooper scooper ever. And so the $285.95 luxury item, 3D printed via HP MJF technology, was born.

Far more than a plastic bag on a stick, the 1.5 elevates dog waste removal into a covetable accessory for affluent pet owners. With customizable accessories like monogrammed spatulas and illustrated poop bags, Silicon Beach residents can now scoop in style – sparing them from ever having to handle the unpleasant task again.

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Photo Credit: Merch for Dog Lovers LLC

The Pooper Scooper 1.5 proves function and beauty need not be mutually exclusive, even when it comes to scooping poop. As Leon “Shades” Ndemo can attest, sometimes inspiration comes from life’s messy moments.

Want to learn more about the story behind the World’s Most Expensive Pooper Scooper? Attend a special exhibit showcasing the history and development of this luxury dog accessory.

The “History of the World’s Most Expensive Pooper Scooper” exhibit takes place Saturday, April 13th 2024 from 2-5 pm at Palm Park (5703 Palm Ave. Whittier, CA 90601). Please RSVP at to enter for free or pay $10 at the door.

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