Our last Instagram poll was adamant: we asked our followers which animal you wanted featured in the next post, and a majority screamed: CATS! Cats it is, sorry for all of you dog lovers out there...
Hiro Ando, SamuraiCat Yellow,
Fiber Glass, 50 x 30 x 40 cm
Hiro Ando, Warrior Cat Black,
Fiber Glass, 55 x 30 x 80 cm
Hiro Ando, Monology Urban Cat Pink,
Acrylic, 31 x 25 x 23 cm
Hiro Ando’s cat motives are reminiscent of the famous maneki-neko (literally, “beckoning cat”), a widespread Japanese icon symbolizing good luck, but their face features seem inspired by the aesthetic developed by mangas. Critics have even called his SamuraiCats and SumoCats “male versions of Hello Kitty”. These cat figures enable Hiro Ando to finds his own way to create an edgy dialogue between past and present, by cleverly intermingling Japanese traditions and contemporary popular and mass culture.
Christian Pendelio, Feline Amazon Catching Angel Fish
, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 120 cm
Christian Pendelio, Childhood Kingdom
, Oil on Canvas, 89 x 130 cm
Christian Pendelio, A Fish for My Cat,
Oil on Canvas, 81 x 65 cm
For French artist Christian Pendelio, cats are a symbol of freedom: they know no boundaries, geographical or moral, and even if they did, you know they just would not care! His child-like characters still have a vivid imagination and they are free of many of the burdens of life. They share the cat’s lightness of spirit, so they can ride it and go on wonderful adventures together, through the stars and with angels.
Cats are also partners: sharing the same body position as the girl it’s nestled against in Chilhood Kingdom
, and sharing the boy’s meagre meal in A Fish for My Cat,
they are loving partners through thick and thin! (but especially when there’s food involved...)
- Rhinoceros In Love,
Fiber Resin, 48 x 35 x 14 cm
Wu Qiong, Boy with Tattoo
, Resin, 80 x 30 x 50 cm
Cats have always been present in Chinese art: from the cat goddess Li Shou to useful mouse-hunting domestic predators, all the way to today’s beloved and fluffy pets, with a strong viral potential online.
Chinese artist Wu Qiong pays tribute to several of these feline aspects: in Rhinoceros in Love,
the cat rests on the back of the blossoming rhinoceros, side by side with the couple in love, in a trusting position. It is almost a family member, that binds the lovers even stronger together.
In Boy with Tattoo
, the painting style is much more traditional, with dragons, fish, mountains and clouds: the tribute to Chinese art is obvious. This very contemporary little boy may choose a modern and westernised lifestyle, but his heritage will always be ingrained in him. Here again, the cat is a faithful link between past and present, a keeper of ancient cultural memory.
Eva Armisen, The Lion is not as fierce as they paint him
and To Protect You,
Limited Edition Serigraphs, 75 x 50 cm
In this series, Spanish artist Eva Armisen represents herself with various animals, here wearing the skin of a lion, and one of a tiger. In European cultures, they are feared as dangerous, carnivorous predators, so by using their attributes, she makes herself strong and fierce. But her closed eyes and little smile suggest a calm and peaceful demeanour. She is suggesting that humans and animals alike can be strong, and sometimes violent when the circumstances demand it, but we all have a child’s heart inside.
For our contemporary artists from Europe and Asia, felines stand for cultural memory, freedom, friendship, family, as well as predators, but with a loving heart... What’s not to love? Mew!
Dog lovers, please don’t hate, we will do a canine selection soon, just be on the look out!