Thursday, August 23, 2018

How a ginger cat with attitude makes Fat Cat Art

I happened on Fat Cat Art again recently - and decided to try and understand a bit more about how a very "fat ginger cat with attitude" could contribute to derivations of some serious art.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Arrangement in Grey, Black and Ginger No. 1 Whistler's Mother with the Cat

artworks by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat /
The fat ginge is called Zarathrusta and is owned by Svetlana Petrova - who lives in St. Petersburg. She always had cats - and involved them in her creative projects. However Zarathrusta is really her mother's cat and she inherited him after her mother died.

Zarathrusta loves to sit for adaptations of the paintings and artwork of the great artists past and present
We, Zarathustra the Cat, enjoy Ourselves as the first cat contemporary artist, working in fields of performance and appropriation art.
The website was launched in 2011 and since then he has been digitally integrated into rather a large number of famous paintings - in an amazing range of styles and period of art - and his artwork has gone viral around the world. 
Fat Cat French art at the end of XIX century
artworks by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat /
Twentieth century art and Zarathrusta the Cat
artworks by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat /

Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Falling Down in the Mind of Someone Sleeping
artworks by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat /
I'm a particular fan of some of the changed titles of the paintings.  There's some thought gone into these!

What's the technique?

  • the artwork is selected
  • high resolution images of the artwork are secured
  • photographs are taken of Zarathrusta - posing. It sometimes takes many months for Svetlana or her photographer to get just the right photo - so I'm guessing there are multiple project pics on the go at any one time
  • the cropped cat pic is inserted into the painting using Photoshop - and sometimes it's tweaked to fit with the style of the painting so that the two fit together well
  • text is created to go with the picture - by his bilingual author/artist mother.

The net result of all this?

He's gone beyond an Internet Meme and there have now been exhibitions, videos, a book (published by Penguin Random House USA - see below)) and calendars (see the 2019 calendar here - and on the Facebook Page) 

In fact a small cottage industry in St. Petersburg runs off the stretches and contortions of Zarathrusta and the digital wizardry of Svetlana.

Fat Cat Art: Famous Masterpieces Improved by a Ginger Cat with Attitude 
(From Amazon UK |

You can view them on Facebook on a regular basis - with videos of typical cat activity

I wish them well for the future. It's fun rather than serious but if anything gets people looking to see what the original painting looked like, that's OK by me

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