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Preview: Cats Out of the Bag, a Felix the Cat Themed Group Art Show from Slow Culture

11:11 AM PDT on April 27, 2015

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    Felix the Cat is almost 100 years old but he still looks fresher than most other cartoon characters created since he first emerged in silent films. Los Angeles has a long history of Felix worship, heavily influenced by the iconic Felix the Cat car dealer sign in the Figueroa Corridor.

    The excellent Slow Culture gallery in Highland Park will show new work inspired by Felix on May 8th. The gallery has assembled a diverse group of artists with completely different takes on Felix ranging from the reverential to the bizarre. Keep reading for a preview of some of the images along with complete artist list and press release...

    Kyle Ng
    Kyle Ng
    Kyle Ng
    Kristofferson San Pablo
    Kristofferson San Pablo
    Kristofferson San Pablo
    Kostas Seremetis
    Kostas Seremetis
    Kostas Seremetis
    Bien Philty
    Bien Philty
    Bien Philty
    Daniel Albrigo
    Daniel Albrigo
    Daniel Albrigo
    Justin Hager
    Justin Hager
    Justin Hager

    FELIX THE CAT
    Cats Out Of The Bag
    Opening Reception: May 8, 2015 6-10PM
    Exhibition Dates: May 8 - May 30 2015

    A simply drawn black and white cat may seem an unlikely choice for the world’s first cartoon superstar, but Felix, with his magical bag of tricks and killer personality, was no ordinary feline. Though Felix has gone through numerous iterations over the near decade since his debut, he has always had an undeniable influence on creatives around the world, no matter their age or medium. This has never been more evident than in “Felix The Cat: The Cat’s Out Of The Bag”, a group art show curated by Slow Culture gallery. The Highland Park outfit gathered nearly 40 members of their creative community and tasked them with creating a piece of work that embodied the world famous cartoon cat. This stable, which includes fine artists, cartoonists, street artists, creative directors, tattoo artists, and more, jumped at the chance to pay homage to a figure that had for many of them made an indelible impact on their art.

    “Felix the Cat has been a metaphysical extension of my visual language for an extended period of time,” says fine artist Kostas Seremetis, while designer Darren Romanelli marvels at the fact that Felix is “almost 100 years old and still super relevant.”

    The mischievous cat made his debut in the 1919 silent short “Feline Follies”, but it wasn’t until “The Adventures of Felix” that he got his everlasting name. Felix immediately became wildly popular with audiences everywhere, and by the 1920s he was drawing droves of viewers to the theaters. His cartoons were early of examples of surrealism in animated storytelling, and Felix’s adventures often included current cultural happenings and attitudes. As the first fully formed and realized animated animal of all time, Felix permeated much of pop culture and beyond: at first as a character, and later as a commodity.

    Felix the Cat was one of the first images to be broadcast on television (in the form of a 13” paper mache figurine spun around on a record player), and early on Felix became a landmark in Los Angeles, with his cheeky grin emblazoned on the giant sign of the Felix Chevrolet dealership in downtown LA. The U.S. Navy's Bombing Squadron Two co-opted the character (pictured toting a bomb with a burning fuse) for their unit insignia in the late 1920s, and Felix was even the mascot for the 1922 New York Yankees team.

    The real appeal of Felix, not just to artists but to all of those who appreciate the dreamlike wonder and outsider spirit of the magical cat, is perhaps best voiced by tattoo artist Matt McCormick: “He’s always come off as the mischievous underdog to Mickey Mouse. His cultural significance has always been influential…growing up listening to punk and seeing The Queers use of him as a mascot, it’s like he’s kind of always attracted a different breed of fan.”

    A cross-section of these fans will be showing their work at Felix: The Cat’s Out of The Bag on May 8th at Slow Culture. The group show features everything from mixed media to sculpture to sign painting to a TV installation, all of which capture the different iterations and interpretations of the first cat ever to become a true international icon.

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