Deth P. Sun's Cat Explained (Sort Of)
"Cat Floating In Space," Deth P. Sun
Ever wondered about that cat in Deth P. Sun's paintings? Yeah, me too. The ever-enigmatic Oakland illustrator answered our questions about the mysterious creature that seems to find its way over and over again into his work.
Is the cat your alter ego? Is the cat you?
The cat is more of a stand-in for whoever is viewing it in a painting. It's not a specifically defined character, so any viewer can slip in and identify with it. So it can be me if you choose it to be, or it can be whoever. But the cat being me is not my intention.
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As opposed to a human, the cat character is easier to identify with for me. It was a way of creating a genderless, non-race character.
How long have you been drawing the cat?
I've just drawn it since I was a kid and it's evolved over time. It's not one of those things I can really trace the roots of. I wish there was a more interesting story than that.
How has the cat changed over time?
The cat changes in the way I draw it, cause I'm always getting better at drawing. Its body used to be smaller, and its head used to be round. Like this is a painting from 10 years ago.
Ghost Comforting Cat by Deth P. Sun
Is the ghost also a cat?
It's a suggested narrative so it's open to the viewer's interpretation. I don't want to be a person who makes clearly-defined, specific narratives.
For this current show at Giant Robot, did you have a specific story in mind when you sat down to paint? If so, what is the story?
All of my shows are just collections of the things I'm working on at the time. I try to paint all the time and then just take my best work and see how it shakes out. It's usually a weird collection of things I've been thinking about that seem to add up to some kind of story in the end.
Deth P. Sun
Why do you only draw on one side of your sketchbook?
Well, the pages in the sketchbook I like (the Moleskine Cahier Extra Large Plain 7x10) are thin, so when I ink-in my drawings the ink bleeds through.
Cat Looking Over Wall, by Deth P. Sun
Your cat character would make an awesome vinyl figure. Have you considered turning him into one?
In the past it has come up, but I'm not really into vinyl figures.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I don't believe in the supernatural but I do enjoy a good ghost story.
Black Cat In Moon, by Deth P. Sun
The cat always seems to be searching for something. In your mind, what is he searching for?
The images of the art I like are mostly of figures looking and interacting with epic environments. The cat really isn't searching for anything, except maybe adventure, 'cause in the end, for someone like me, most trips aren't about what's at the end of the journey.
Cat With Lantern Looking Down, by Deth P. Sun
Do you ever get tired of drawing or painting the cat?
No. I've used other images, and I got tired of using those. This particular character changes every few years, and with other images it could only go so far.
Does he (or she?) have a name?
Gem In Box, by Deth P. Sun
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