So Why an Orange Cat?

orange-cat

Chances are you’re one of two people: either you know me in real life or you stumbled onto my blog by fate’s good fortune.  If you belong to the latter party you may be wondering why this woman who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with gelatinous umbrella-shaped Cnidaria chooses to depict herself with a fat little orange cat. If you belong to the former you’ve probably given up trying to locate all the little cats drawn under your tables, on the freshly repapered counters, the bottoms of power tools, the labels of your laundry, and the insides of the paper flaps on your hardcover books (you hadn’t checked there yet had you?). The former party’s probably given up all hope of even understanding anything but allow me to shed a small bit of light.

I’m a crazy cat lady. That much is obvious when you see the stick family on my car and it’s just me, my princess crown, my hammer, my cat, and his cool MIB shades. Oh, and my fish, but they’re not important right now. Crazy cat ladies no not evolve into that state, They’re born that way.  It doesn’t matter if they start life with a cat or not, the inevitable is simply delayed.  It’s like being a mutant with a dormant X-gene that’s feline activated. As soon as you’re given your first kitten your eye starts to twitch and you crave that dress from Modcloth with the repeated cats in picture frames pattern. The kitten then notices your active gene, having been trained since infancy to usurp it’s human overlords, and uses it’s kitty powers to control your mind.  There was a study.  It’s all fact.

Well, I succumbed young. I was born with two cats in the house. There was never any real hope for me. My cats were my identity, in a world full of cat allergies and dog people. I was religiously a siamese cat person, until that fateful day(s) in 2002 when I discovered two series that captured my imagination with orange cats. Fruits Basket and Diana Wynne Jones.

kyo-cat

First there’s Kyo Soma. Angry Orange cat from the Chinese Zodiac. (if you’re questioning my saying why there’s a cat in the eastern zodiac then you haven’t read Fruits Basket yet.  This is an inexcusable offense, even if you’re a adult male lawyer type. Remedy this.) I was 12 when I discovered him, so of course I would latch on to his angry teenage type personality. Until Kyo no other colour cat could hold any sway in my eyes, but I consider him the beginning of my resolve falling.

If Kyo was all there was I’m sure the icon wouldn’t have stuck with me for the last decade or so. What cemented the image down for me was Ms. Diana Wynn Jones’ Chrestomanci Chronicles.

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Arguably my favorite author of all time to this day, Jones has convinced me that the most magical of cats come in ginger, not black as western society assumes.  Ginger cats bring with them the magic from her worlds; a serendipitous, almost believable, but somewhat absurd magic. A magic that makes you believe if you turn just the right way when you’ve woken up from your dreams you can slip through the folds that divide universes and realities and meet magical goddesses who love stories about school kids, or fuzzy pink toadstools that take over your mother’s house. Not Black magic, not white magic, but magic as how you see and choose to interpret every day.

My favorite line from here still is and probably always will be:

“Believing is seeing”

(which is the title of a book of short stories she wrote that you should go read right now)

 

For me, art has never been something pretty you put in the middle of an empty wall to make it more personal. I fill the walls with everything that makes me smile, makes me think, makes me miss home, or makes that warm happy feeling from the pit of your stomach rise up and colour your life. Art has always been about transforming my space into somewhere my own, somewhere secure, and somewhere engaging. I’m sure this is what drew me to installation art in college so strongly.

My little fat cat (who first doodled his current appearance while flirting in the margins of a notebook with a boy in Italy in 2010) represents all of this for me. He’s also just really cute.

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