At a time when the world seems to grow darker by the minute, everyone has their own means of getting through the day. For Portland artist Cat Champion, that is, well, championing cats.
Late last year, Champion published Depression Cats (CreateSpace, 42 pages, $10), an adult coloring book compiling the brightly colored, pop art-style drawings of fuzzy felines she began drawing weekly in the not-so-coincidental month of November 2016.
"I wanted to publicly address my own mental health coping mechanisms in a way that people might be able to relate to," Champion writes in an email.
In the book, some cats wear costumes, like tacos or hot dogs. One shoots lasers out of its iridescent eyes. Each sports an inspirational motto, such as "Depression wears many faces. They're all part of you, not the whole of you." It's art that helps show how the relationships we share with our pets can make the world feel a little less lonely.
"When anyone finds someone to love that's willing to accept them just as they are," Champion says, "this is cause for celebration."
Not surprisingly, the idea has been embraced in pet-loving Portland. In May, Champion's art show, 59 Cats, opened at Bar Carlo in Southeast Portland, showing illustrations from the collection. On opening night, Champion met a young fan in cat face paint who had just appeared in a school production of The Lion King.
"They were hilarious, smart and excited about the Hot Dog Cat," Champion says.