Are you familiar with the art of topiary? It involves shaping plants into specific forms and Richard Saunders, a 75-year-old British artist, was inspired by it to create his series, The Topiary Cat. The series features digital transformations of foliage into feline shapes. Saunders’ own cat, Tolly, who passed away five years ago, served as the original inspiration for the ongoing project. However, Saunders has now created a new, fictitious character that carries on the legacy of his beloved pet. The artist describes The Topiary Cat as a wise and magical creature with superior powers, surpassing the knowledge of mere mortals who gaze upon him.
According to Richard Saunders, he created these pictures for enjoyment at first. He took a snapshot of a giant cloud topiary in the gardens of an old estate and realized that he could effortlessly capture Tolly in a pose that matched the form of the bushes.
Richard has been interested in surrealistic painting since he was a teenager, and he gained proficiency in using Photoshop more than two decades ago when he worked as a creative director in the advertising industry. He shared that creating The Topiary Cat, which he started over eight years ago while Tolly, his cat, was still alive, was relatively easy for him as he already had the necessary skills. However, the images he produces have become more intricate over time, often requiring days to complete and customized photos taken especially for them.
After Tolly’s demise in 2016, Richard was too heartbroken to even think about carrying on with The Topiary Cat. However, his legion of 40,000 followers on Facebook encouraged him to keep going. According to Richard, it is comforting for people when they lose their beloved pets, and he thinks continuing the project might help them in some way.
Richard, the creator of The Topiary Cat, has expanded his business beyond just the iconic feline. He now offers puzzles, 3D visuals, and even a narrated story on YouTube that he reads one chapter at a time. As the adventures of The Topiary Cat continue, Tolly welcomes a new companion in Georgi, a Russian Blue cat.
When Richard is asked about his favorite creation, he usually leans toward his latest work. His inspiration comes from a variety of artists, including some of his all-time favorites such as Dalí, Max Ernst, and the Pre-Raphaelites.
According to the creator, many people he meets are fond of The Topiary Cat despite their initial disappointment of it not being real. They become fans of the ongoing narrative as they follow its progress. The project’s future relies on the response to the book “The Topiary Cat,” which is being produced in limited quantities initially to gauge the market’s interest.
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