Nicolas Cage has a cat. Cage and that cat inspired an art show. The internet has never had a better day.
The art will be showcased at CatCon, a convention devoted entirely to the creature Al Gore had in mind when he invented our beloved global network of connected computers. This year’s event, which resembles a Comic-Con for cat people, will take place October 1-2 in Pasadena, California.
“Nicolas Cage is an artist’s dream subject — he’s cult, he’s camp, and he’s DGAF,” said CatCon founder Susan Michals, who is also the founder and curator of Cat Art Show, a biennial exhibition of cat-focused creations that showcases the Cage exhibition sponsors. “Cats share many of the same characteristics, so why not combine the two and celebrate on canvas?”
Seven artists bring their brushstrokes and pixels to CatCon for Uncaged: The Unbearable Weight of Genius Cat Art.
The celebration of the versatile actor and his adopted black cat Merlin includes Brian Hoffman’s Catstor Troy, an 11 inch by 14 inch print, hand embellished with diamond dust, embossed, signed and framed in a decorative vintage frame. The play — a tribute to Cage’s savage villain in 1997’s Face/Off — shows the actor’s head atop the body of a retro cartoon girl, a little blue bow in his hair, and he’s surrounded by three cartoonish cats.
“It’s definitely weird and a little scary, but heartwarming and fun if you like Cage and cats,” says the Boston-based designer, illustrator and graphic artist. “Initially, Cage sat next to mushrooms in tribute to Alice in Wonderland and her cat Dinah, as well as the one time Nic Cage allegedly took mushrooms with his cat.”
Vanessa Stockard’s oil-on-board, titled Wild at Art, shows the actor being hugged by a life-size black cat with yellow eyes and a matching yellow wig. I asked Jet, my own black cat with yellow eyes, to critique the piece.
“I find the separation of cat and human in Stockard’s work both reductive and resonating,” Jet said. “Has anyone seen a bird I can kill?”
Cage’s smoothly expressive face makes him a natural star of paintings as well as countless memes.
You’ve probably seen GIFs of him from the 1997 action thriller movie Con Air, his long hair blowing in the wind, his eyes half closed, a blissful smile on his sun-kissed face as he walks towards freedom after a long prison sentence. You may have also seen the meme of his face on numerous images of cats. Cage is rightly a lifelong cat lover whom Merlin calls his best friend. “He likes contact,” Cage says in this interview. “Sometimes he jumps in bed and hugs me, you know? I really think it’s my wife.’
The art in Uncaged will be available for purchase both in person at Cat Con and online through Cat Art Show. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit three cat-related charities, with this new Cage-cat genre hopefully benefiting all meme types.