Cats are a popular theme for Melbourne graffiti artists to agree on, especially when a Coburg cat boarding place gives permission to paint their wall, but cats are a popular theme. (I think the wall is by Slor and Danks, but forgive an old guy trying to read wildstyle.) Cats are a constant internet meme but it is also a graffiti meme, given all the cartoon cats: Felix, Tom, Scratchy… There was a huge wall in Collingwood full of cats in 2009 (also on the wall of a cat boarding place) and one in Prahran (not associated with cat boarding).
Coburg cats – Slor and a bit of Danks
I’m only posting this because found a few new reasons to wander the streets of Melbourne looking for some new graffiti in the past two months. My LA bro and his family were in Melbourne, so I had to show them Hosier Lane when I showed them around the city. They loved it, lots of selfies taken; my brother said that it was the first time that my niece had got her actual camera out for the whole trip (not counting the camera in her phone).
I’ve never seen Hosier Lane so crowded; there were three tour groups in the lane, plus a lot of other people. I wasn’t surprised at all the tourists in Hosier Lane but I was surprised to spot a group of well dressed people with cameras photographing pieces along the train line at Macauly Station. There are some great pieces but the area is so drek.
Liberty Skull – Footscray
Footscray wall with another cat
I also had a couple of reason to go out to Footscray and there are a lot of good stuff around the train station and shopping strip. Yes, some skulls and more cats. On the subject of the popularity of cats in Melbourne’s graffiti world – there is Lush.
Winchester, the cat at Brunswick Arts died on the 10th of October. Originally from Toowoomba, Queensland, Winchester moved to Melbourne and pursued a career in artist management. He enjoyed a long and successful life supervising activities at the artist-run-gallery, eating and sleeping. He passed away suddenly early in the morning after enjoying life as usual the previous day. Early in 2012 Winchester went missing for a week after an exhibition opening. He had cancer and was receiving chemotherapy in mid 2012. Winchester was a male tabby and proud of it. He had his own Facebook page (I was one of his 175 friends). I will miss seeing him when I visit and he will be profoundly missed by his family at Brunswick Arts.
Winchester the cat at Brunswick Arts opening 2012
Another gallery cat in Melbourne is Milly at Brunswick Street Gallery Milly a white short-haired cat is very affectionate; she was following me around the gallery trying to get petted when I was last there.
In observing cats you will notice that cats enjoy geometry of the designed environment; they place themselves in a manner in harmony with the space. Gallery cats appreciate the gallery space like many of the human visitors. Gallery cats must wonder why humans often walk half way across a room and then suddenly stop and stares at the wall for a minute before continuing walking in their original direction.
“When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not amusing herself with me more than I with her.” Michel de Montaigne
The cattery carpark in Collingwood, a collection of images of cats created in a collective and collaborative work by local street artists. The carpark is appropriately next to Cat Cosmopolitan, a cattery on the corner of Langridge St. and Wellington St. in Collingwood.
Taken as a whole work, as a collaborative effort, this is possibly the largest work of art featuring cats since the Sphinx was constructed. To give a short history of the depiction of cats in Western art, and it is a very short history because there aren’t many after the Egyptians. Occasionally a cat is included in 13th century frescos, particularly scavenging scraps under the table in scenes of the last supper. Cats would continue to be included in scenes with other collections of domestic animals throughout Western art but were rarely the focus of artistic interest. When the Impressionists started to paint domestic scenes images of cats became more common but in the 20th century there was an explosion of cat images with the emergence of cartoon cats.