Feline Fine Art Born From Love of Cats and Painting

Shu Yamamoto has given the works of the Old Masters a new attitude—or should we say “cattitude.” 

A commercial illustrator, Yamamoto has recreated famous paintings that swap out humans for cats, and the occasional dog. An exhibit of his whimsical take on famous fine art, entitled “The Fine Collection of Feline Art,” is on display at the Utah County Arts Board’s offices in the Health and Justice Building. The exhibit features a selection of the hundreds of paintings he’s created over the years. 

“I’m a passionate cat lover and an artist,” Yamamoto says. He explains that he enjoys mimicking the styles of iconic painters. 

Yamamoto’s feline recreations span a wide range of styles and time periods, familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in art history, and include a meticulous attention to detail. The inspirations for many of Yamamoto’s paintings can be found hanging in the Louvre in Paris. Another inspiration, “The Creation of Adam,” painted by Michaelangelo in 1512 becomes Yamamoto’s “The Creation of Cat” by Meowchelangelo. 

“The Birth of Venus: by Sandro Botticelli in the 16th century is reborn in Yamamoto’s hands as a masterpiece by Pawticelli.

Yamamoto published collections of his reproductions in his native Japan in 2012, followed by calendars, puzzles and postcards featuring his creations. He now has his sights set on the American market. Examples of his work can be found on his website. www.catart.jp 

Yamamoto, 67, and his wife, Reiko, live in Sandy, Utah, with their two cats, who often supervise Yamamoto’s work sessions.