When Jason West was invited to curate an exhibit at 4Art Space in Bridgeport, the Brookfield artist wanted to do something more interesting than, as he says, “Hey, paintings!” Trying to attract a broad audience, he surmised that “everyone loves a cat video.” The result is the Fantastic Felines Art Show, which opens March 20 and presents more than 30 pieces featuring cats.
What do you think makes cats such an interesting artistic subject?
They’re weird. You take a look at any feline species, from a normal housecat to even a lion or a tiger, and they’re just weird little creeps. But at the same time, they’re adorable. At the Brookfield Zoo, you can look up and see the lions playing with boxes. They’re cute and fluffy, but they will kill you at any second.
How did you find all of these artworks?
I put a call out on social media, but mostly I talked to a lot of the artist friends I’ve met over the years. I asked them, “Hey, would you be interested in being in a cat art show?” And almost every single one was like “Dude, that sounds ridiculous and yes.”
What makes for good and bad cat-focused art?
A lot of people don’t get the personality of cats into their art. There’s a painting in the show called Purrcaso [pictured], and it’s just a cat looking like it did something really wrong — it has paint on its hands and it’s painting a wall. You look at that and think, Oh yeah, my cat would do something like that.