Curiosity finds the cat

Many Atlantans abandon their comfy couch cushion and slippers to run out into the streets when they hear a drop has been made.

Georgia State Alumni, former studio art major and well-known artist, Catlanta, releases a sporadic statement about a “dropped” cat via social networks and sends eager, hopeful owners out in a scurry to find his hidden novelties.

Catlanta, an Atlanta figure, has managed to not only uphold his anonymity but also his reputation for keeping art and cat lovers, among others, on their toes.

More than a year ago, the then graffiti artist used his tag name as a way to provide legal safety, but now he purely enjoys the double life and the chase.

“It’s easier to put the work out there and not have people just waiting for me to drop it then grab it instead of playing fair,” Catlanta said. “And it’s just more fun too.”

Last January, the street artist created a portfolio of his cat Sterling, found a magnet at work, and put the painting on North Avenue with a Facebook message sent shortly after. The message contained a vague location and a luring notice to anyone interested in finding the pictured cat. This began the Catlanta craze that has taken over the city.

This also began a strategic effort from Catlanta as a way to get his art in the hands of as many different people as possible. He followed the Twitter accounts of big businesses with lots of active followers and hid the captivating cats in their tweets to help gain attention.

Catlanta has looked to many Atlanta artists to find his way to the enigma he’s become today. One of these well-known artists is Keith Herrings.

“I like his work a lot… I try to draw inspiration from as many places as possible,” Catlanta said.

The scavenger hunt has given Catlanta the opportunity to redefine street art and alter the negative stereotypes associated with it.

“I think this project has shown the city that street art is a lot more accessible than a lot more people people really realized,” Catlanta said. “When people think of street art, they think of graffiti immediately… These kinds of projects are showing people that you can still interact with your city, but you don’t have to do it in a destructive way.”

The interest in Catlanta’s art may have started generally with a college audience, but it has grown to entice a larger demographic.

“Everyone from kids to 60-year-old grandmothers have been out there looking for them,” Catlanta said. “So it’s really for everyone, and I try to make it as successful as possible.”

The community has become engulfed in joining the Catlanta movement, finding value in the hunt alongside the reward. Catlanta keeps this in mind when creating and carefully dropping his creative kitties throughout the city.

“It’s about the interaction and having people go out into the city and share,” Catlanta said. “There’s no message really in the work physically, but it’s more the act of it. That is where the message is.”

There are no signs of Catlanta slowing down, as he expands his project across the country. plans future collaborations with other street artists, all while continuing to develop what earned him his title.

With numerous cats under his belt, his appreciation for his furry friends continues to grow.

“As I continue to do it, I like it more and more,” Catlanta said.

His growing passion for the craft allows more people to have a chance in owning one of these adorable masterpieces. The next one right be right under your nose.

Published April 17, 2012 in The Signal.

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