I first encountered Russian artist Svetlana Petrova’s renderings of classic paintings, modified to include her very large, fat cat, a couple of years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find the artist is still re-creating paintings, and that her work has recently become a part of a gallery show in Abingdon, England.
Petrova’s mother died in 2008, leaving her cat, Zarathustra, behind. She claims her mother spoiled the cat, contributing to Zarathustra’s large stature. Petrova was very depressed after her mother’s death and wasn’t able to make art until a friend suggested she create an art project using the cat, and thus, Fat Cat Art was born.
Petrova says, “I’m a professional artist, and I was fond of Internet memes, and I thought maybe I can make an Internet meme who would at the same time [be] a work of art. And I did this.” But her confidence in her work was at first met with some hesitation. “I thought that I could hold an exhibition, but gallery owners said: ‘This is not art, this is just cats.’ I asked: ‘Why is a shark in the formaldehyde art, but and a cat in a classic painting is not art?’ Nobody could give me an answer, and these people began to avoid me saying that I am mad.” Eventually, though, her cat art won the hearts of the gallery in the UK.
Petrova has been most recently inserting her cat into movies, and she welcomes suggestions for fat cat placements via her Twitter, or the project’s website, whose disclaimer reads: “We are real. All the artworks at this site are real. Nobody’s opinion about Us, Our art or this site will ever disturb Our suprematism.” (via archie mcphee and huffington post)