At this writing my “Clockwork Cat” is greeting visitors to Lambert St. Louis International Airport. I am thrilled at its placement and a photo shoot with a little Victorian cosplay I did with the assistance of Webster University’s Director of PR, Patrick Giblin. As in Worlds Collide, a previous blog post, the “Clockwork Cat” is a perfect blend of my two active artistic themes, animal art and Steampunk. I’m keeping this post simple, including new photos and the full Artist’s Statement. A condensed version is on the Animal Protective Association’s HarryandHanley.com site. A video and additional photos will be up on my sister page/website www.hautehen.com later this month. Please visit the sites and share #APA90, #WebsterU Thank you for your continued support! Enjoy.
The Clockwork Cat Artist’s Statement
By Victoria L. Szulc
The Clockwork Cat is the fanciful story of a Victorian era feline with a bit of Steampunk style as represented by his wild glowing orange color. He is a proper gent with a bowler hat, monocle, a pocket watch nattily tucked into his vest and spats adorning his feet. The bowler is his lucky hat, with all Aces tucked into its banding. Our gentleman enjoys other games as well, as demonstrated by his chess board vest. He enjoys a good cup of tea as his watch is forever stuck at 4pm, widely regarded as tea time in Great Britain.
He stands in lush garden, a nod to the Victorian language of flowers, including a carpet of violets that rise up from his feet. Tender vines have captured his spyglass and the Queen Chess piece. The greenery has enchanted the smiling Knight piece to leave the chess board to explore the garden. Night and day in the garden are both represented with the sun and the moon and light and dark sides of the sky. A gust of wind blows past the sunflower, an iris, and takes our gent’s umbrella high into the sky. A literal cat o’nine tails sways in the breeze.
Victorian vignettes rest on his flanks in stylish birdcages, including the “play on words” rose hips and a delightful cup of tea. There are more word plays with hearts in hands (hearts on the underside of his paws), and birds in the hands (a hummingbird on the top side of one paw and a bluebird on the other). There is a buzz in the ear with a honeybee and beetle taking residence behind our chap’s ears. Insect studies that were popular during the Victorian era are further represented by the country cricket and a monarch butterfly (which also reminds us of Queen Victoria).
There are allusions to Victorian literature as well, with the Telltale Heart (Edgar Allen Poe) on his breast and a yellow snake emerging from the snowy breast as in Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling. Perhaps you’d like to join the Clockwork Cat for a cup of tea and a good book in the garden?