A little black shelter cat named Pete only wanted a home. But he achieved immortality when he was adopted by a 50-year-old Georgia artist, James Dean, who has featured Pete in so many paintings, the Mona Lisa must be drooling with envy.
Dean was doing mostly landscapes and local scenes when he met Pete. Switching gears to paint the cat, he made Pete cobalt blue because he thought black might be a turn-off for superstitious people.
As time passed, Pete’s artistic persona became increasingly whimsical and inspired many adventures in series of paintings, but he lived as an indoor-outdoor cat with Dean for only 9 months before he disappeared. Dean hopes that Pete found a good home with someone else.
So Pete lives on in Dean’s heart through his work. They have a Web site where you can purchase the art and other merchandise, such as Pete T-shirts and a Pete catnip toy. It also lists galleries where Pete is on display all over the country.
My favorite piece is “Pete in The Scream.”
Dean’s latest Pete series is “Think Responsibly, Drink Responsively: A Cat’s Commentary on Wine Connoisseurship.” You can see it through July 30 at the Seen Gallery in Decatur on 321 West Hill Street.
Dean is a true cat-lover with 4 others – Audrey (Hepburn), Yoko (Ono), Bob (?), Frida (Kahlo). He also has a dog named Emma, but we won’t hold that against him.
(Fine print: This is not a solicited endorsement. Cats Working doesn’t know James Dean. We just love to spread the word whenever a cat makes good.)