No matter where you go, what you do, or what (and who) you see, there's a chance that some degree of art is nearby. Be it stunning paintings, peculiar sculptures, or street graffiti, art is all around us and there are nearly immeasurable mediums for artistic self-expression. One of the last places you might expect to see peculiar and unique art is matchboxes, but fret no longer because your day has come.
Denver-based artist Arna Miller has collaborated with her husband, Ravi Zupa, in an artistic endeavour of an unusual but totally easy-to-relate to sort... on matchboxes featuring drunken late-night scenarios, often experienced at bars. The twist? The art features cats instead of humans... and we are so here for it.
The word fancy seems to go hand in hand with cats, so we find amusement in the title of Arna Miller's project (Strike Your Fancy.) She's described it as:
...a series of matchboxes featuring cats drinking at the bar and the good, embarrassing and confusing situations we have all found ourselves in.
Arna and her husband are both artists, born and raised in Denver, Colorado but Arna wasn't always an artist. In fact, she used to work at an architecture firm!
Miller has said she finds inspiration in, "book illustrations, vintage packaging, matchboxes, magic show posters, and early-20th-century illustrations." That 'turn-of-the century vibe,' however, is most prominent in these whiskered, whisky bar felines.
Arna likes to tread the line between humour and realism, saying:
My guiding rule—which I sometimes break—is ;Possible, but Not Likely. For example, it’s possible for a vole to sit on a cigarette box and float down a river, but it is not likely.
On the other hand, dinosaurs didn’t have laptops and headphones, so I would not draw that.
How did her "guiding rule" lead her to these humorous and adorable matchbox kitties?
I guess on this occasion unless our kitties are up to things at night that we are unaware of, the guiding rule was broken. We are happy it was!
Arna and her husband are very "hands on" with their art:
We can make everything “in-house”—from cutting and sanding the boards that we mount the art on to printing the packaging we use to ship it.
The couple sells their matchbox art both individually and in sets on their online store, so whatever catches your fancy, you can get some of this matchbox art for your home, too!
Miller's journey from 9 to 5 to art is something a lot of late-to-life artists can probably relate to:
I began doing art late in life—or so it felt at the time. I was in my mid-twenties and after hearing the 10,000-hours-to-master-a-skill theory, I felt compelled to frantically catch up.
Miller and her husband live a fascinating life, which probably plays into their fun artwork:
Recently, $$$ pushed us to the unchartered territory of Commerce City where we bought a house. The previous owner left us five ducks and a goose, who have exceeded our expectations of awesomeness.
It's clear to see that this couple loves what they do!
The process and details they spend time and effort on in all their work, but especially their matchbox cat series, speaks volumes to the passion they must feel as they go about their artistic journey.
It's im-paws-sible not to appreciate the unique project.
Together, the couple partakes in art throughout their home:
Here are all the different types of things we do from our art house:
Draw (in the drawing room, of course)
Paint (in what would conventionally be called the living room)
Sculpt (clay, metal, wood, found objects)
Cut and sand wood for mounting
Screen print (burn screens, print transparencies, mix ink, etc)
Block print (with an antique printing press)
Photograph the art
Shoot and edit videos
The final products are most definitely... purr-fect.
They definitely have plenty of happy customers!
Ravi Zupa's video of the matchbox cats is definitely one you don't want to miss!
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