Out of our world’s current population of about seven billion, it is estimated that a little more than over one percent of it is considered artistic. Therefore, it is an extreme rarity to be around such individuals with the aforementioned talent. It is even more rare to find an artist who has garnered enough recognizable fame. Usually, it takes a specific hook to pull this endeavor off. For Maria A. Aristidou, her hook is using coffee as a medium. And for John Bramblitt, his hook is the fact that his artistic career didn’t take off until he lost his vision.
For artist Susan Herbert, her hook is quite unique because it doesn’t concentrate on using abnormal mediums for her work or having a specific trait or condition. Herbert’s hook is the content she paints: cats. However, Herbert stands out because she doesn’t just paint cats, but incorporates them into contemporary Western art masterpieces
As featured in the Chris Beetles Gallery, Susan Herbert was very distinctive when it came to contemporary cat art. Using watercolors, Herbert avoided the normal of approach of creating general paintings of cats but would use wit to add them into imagery of Western art masterpieces. Some examples would be her cat version of Ophelia by Sir John Everett, Girl With A Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer, The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
Presently, Susan Herbert’s work is being showcased in the publication of a new book titled Cats Galore, as reported by Huffington Post. It is described as a compendium of cultured cats in which Herbert unabashedly incorporates cats into art history. Though the book’s collection of her artwork is often viewed with amusement, it is also a testament to how dedicated Herbert was all her life towards her artistic career. What better way to not just showcase but also celebrate the work of Herbert’s life (which ended last year in 2014) than through a special book that shows all of her masterpieces.
To view more of Susan Herbert’s famous cat paintings, they can be viewed at the Chris Beetles gallery where her artwork is currently displayed. As for her book Cats Galore, it is available at Thames & Hudson.
[Images via Susan Herbert/Chris Beetles Gallery]