One Human's Trash is Another's Treasure 

aka KATZ! Mural

Silk-screen printed decoupage mural with Mural Arts, Waring School Students, and Candy Depew

Summer 2012

 

Concept:

On a crisp winter day in Chinatown, hours before a blizzard shut down

the city for several days, a white van pulled up onto the sidewalk simultaneously threw open its side door. Out was tossed a striped cat that hit the ground running. 

Another mini tiger was set on the ground, this one fear stricken, did not move even when the van slammed its door shut only to peel-out down the street, never to return. My friends, coincidentally walking down the same sidewalk only feet from the van, saw all this transpire and picked up the terrified newly discarded kitty. 

These cats were brother and sister, only a little over one year old where tossed out on the street to fend for themselves. Luckily for the terrified one, and for me, she was only in that state momentarily, although it is not known what happened to her brother. 

I came to meet this cat later that same evening, with my first thought being “why would someone throw away such a good cat?” I just couldn’t understand it. I took her in temporarily, but grew very fond of her. She was so cute, very shy, with perfect ears and no apparent behavioral issues. The answer was revealed a few weeks later at the vet’s office, after finding an identification chip implant and contacting the owner associated with said chip. The story of her abandonment came to be known. 

“I came home one day and found the entire contents of my house gone, my children gone, my wife gone, my pets gone, and my car missing. In less than 8 hours there was absolutely nothing left of my family.” 

Since October 2011, KATZ! (the kitty in the mural) has raised funds for homeless animals and children through the sale of her prints at art auction fundraisers with organizations as SPCA and The National Adoption Center. Screen printed fabric dolls have been created and given to those that need a bit of a pick me up: children in the hospital, elderly in hospice, assisting special needs individuals with therapeutic mediations, and single persons needing companionship but are not permitted to have a pet. She has been creating comfort for hundreds of people with her story. This mural will be only a couple of blocks from where she was abandoned. As she crouches in the leaves, with insects and other plant life, peering out of the foliage with her glowing eyes, always looking out for her brother and all animals without homes/missing their families. 

Process
Students of Waring school, with their art teacher, drew images of insects, flowers and the sun. Candy, a master sprinter that has taught nearly 2,500 people the art of screen-printing, showed the students how to print their designs in bright hues on colored papers. Multiples of each design were printed then cut out of the paper and arranged into a landscape image. The individual parts come together to create a whole image, just like individuals of a community, and will be then be decoupaged onto the wall. Decoupage is the art of decorating object’s surfaces (in this case the wall) by gluing paper cut outs onto it. The final arrangement of printed paper cutouts are ‘sealed’ with a surface varnish until the ‘stuck on’ appearance disappears, with the result appearing like a painting or inlay work. Originally this technique was used in the 18th century and was known as ‘japanning’. I believe this will be the first mural of its kind.