Gotham City Kitty stands guard outside a theatre in Catskill, New York. Sponsored by the Catskilll Community Theatre, bat cat is only one of the many cats prowling down Main Street this summer.
Many of the cat-creations were folklore inspired like ‘Pusseidon,’ a blue feline sea god covered in golden shells and wrapped in sea monster tentacles. Or ‘Gnomeow,’ a cat-gnome wearing a red pointed cap staring cross-eyed at a butterfly perched on the end of his nose. I even spied a Celtic green man cat, a design combining the artist’s interpretation of green man and Celtic myths. The strangest cat sculpture resembled a winged gargoyle with a unicorn beak. A clash of mythology and imagination.
It’s both interesting and heartening to see folklore used in this manner. Ancient tales reworked in a contemporary setting in a way that makes sense to the people who make and enjoy them. I wondered what inspired the artists to draw on the legendary characters they chose as I wandered through the town hoping my phone wouldn’t die before I photographed them all. From superheroes to samurai, folkloric creatures to feline bakers, I was amazed by the variety of ideas and interpretations. And of course, they’re all cats which is especially attractive!
Part of the annual Cat’n Around Catskill festival, each cat is sponsored by a local business and created by a local artist. Launched in 2007, this summer tradition is now in its tenth year.
Here are a few more cats I snapped prowling down Main Street.
For more information, check out the Cat’n Around Catskill Facebook page. And if you’re in the area, pick up a ballot to vote for your favorite Cats. Winners will be announced at the annual Cat’s Meow Auction and Gala on September 18th.
HJ Blenkinsop PhD writes books for girls with gumption and is the author of Kitty Tweddle and the Wishing Well. When she’s not cooking up strange tales, HJ dabbles in soap making and potion mixing. She also blogs about catlore – the folklore of cats – at Chicken Road Diaries.