I was really intrigued when I learnt that there is such a thing as The Society of Feline Artists. (Honestly, did you know?) I was even more intrigued when I realised they hold an annual London exhibition! Immediately, within minutes, I got my Ryanair tickets for a same day return trip!
I visited the exhibition two days before the latest London Tube Bombing, and I was at one point on the District Line. I was lucky I picked a different date.
I got to the airport early as I always do. I hate being stressed out, I would rather sit, read a book and drink a cup of tea then running around last minute. As I get older, I started to have anxiety surrounding flying, so I try to avoid adrenaline in my body as much I can before flying!
Does anyone know what this ‘Mystery Flight’ is about?
Here is me on the train heading towards Victoria Station. Look how happy I was going to the exhibition! Of course I got a cat scarf, what else?
That’s me outside the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery.
Approaching to the gallery, I knew I came to the right place…hehehe
Once I am inside, I am surrounded by 4 walls of amazing cat art!
I particularly loved this one, which has such a strong semblance of my cat Fafa.
That’s me very happy at the exhibition.
Look at all these amazing work of art!
I have unfortunately missed the Opening of the Exhibition as I was on holiday in France. So I signed up the newsletter immediately to get notification for next year’s opening. I would love to meet the artists who exhibit.
For cat lovers in Dublin (or other parts of Europe to be honest!), I think it’s worth thinking about visiting the exhibition. Fly over in the morning, have a nice lunch, walk around, do some shopping, fly back. It could be a lovely day trip with other cat loving friends.
The gallery is in a very handy location of a few minute walk from Waterloo station, just right across the Old Vic Theatre, as you can see here below…
Address: 124 -126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN UK
(Opposite the Old Vic Theatre)
Phone: 0207 620 1322/1324
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 7.30pm
Closest Tube Station: Waterloo
Since I missed the Opening, I have been in touch with Lois from the Society of Feline Artists as I would like to learn more about the Society and the annual exhibition, she has kindly agreed to chat with me over the internet.
Alice: Wow! Society for Feline Artists! I didn’t know it existed! I was overjoyed to find out there are artists out there devoted to such genre! Can you tell us how did the Society comes about? (What year does it start? Who are the founders? How is the Society today like? Etc)
Lois: Feline Artists started with a handful of cat worshippers who could paint cats in 1994. The first few meetings took place in back rooms of various pubs in the London area. We were probably under 10 members then and we had very little structure, and at that time not much direction, meaning any idea of how this idea would mature. Presently we have 87 members; 35 Full members who can use the initials S.O.F.A. after their name, 40 Associates who can exhibit in our annual London show but have less perks than our Full members. We also have friends who are eligible for our yearly prize draw for one our Full members original works of art.
Alice: So you guys have an annual exhibition. I was so upset to have missed the Opening but glad that I managed to visit on later days to see the works. This is going to be a new annual ‘to do’ item for my calendar. Can you tell us more about the exhibition?
Lois: I can’t remember how were introduced to the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery but how lucky we were! They are lovely to work with. We’ve been with them for 23 years. The exhibition runs for 3 weeks usually the end of August then into September. I think because the Old Vic Theatre is just across the road they also capture the early theatre going crowd. There are lots of Luvvies around, as the Young Vic theatre is just down the road. So, there is quite a buzz in the area and people with time on their hands can drop in for a look.
Alice: Can you tell us more about the members of the Society? I imagine they are all cat lovers?
Lois: Most of us have or had cats. How else do we get such a variety of models? When we get together there is the usual round of cat stories: births, deaths adoptions etc. just like family!
Alice: So who comes to the exhibition? I could imagine some cat lovers like myself but are there other visitors who might not be necessarily cat lovers and still interested in the genre?
Lois: Well, obviously cat lovers. The gallery has a policy of not telling us who bought a painting. This ensures privacy to the new owners of our work. If they want to contact us most of us have a website so they can. As for the people dragged along who are not cat lovers; they can poke around in the gallery and usually find some non cat art to look at. Every one should be happy.
Alice: And how about yourself? How you become a Feline artist?
Lois: This is a difficult thing to answer. Everyone followed a different road that led to the same place. I had a classical art school education in the States and in Paris but when we moved here the layout and design I was doing in the States seemed extremely uninteresting especially with a whole new country to explore. We moved to the countryside and at that time I thought I would have to commute London or at least Croydon! We also had adopted quite a few animals. So I started a pet portrait business. I did endless dogs, cats, horses and quite a few pigs. This lead me into Greeting card designs. I honestly don’t remember how I came across Feline Artists. I must have read about them in one of the art magazines.
Alice: Can you tell us a bit about your work?
Lois: I am probably the least like a feline artist, not a good example. For starters I am not an illustrator, so many of our members are. So what qualifies me to be a feline artist? I paint cats…. but in a different way. The cat in my more recent work is part of a picture that just happens to have a cat in it.
Alice: You are a committee member of the Society, how did you start to be involved?
Lois: I just went along to a few of the AGMs. When one of the committee members left the Society someone thought I would be a good committee member. Hey, I was flattered and so my involvement with the group began. It can be a lot of time consuming work. I don’t think many of the non committee members know how much work we do.
Alice: Is there anything else you want to tell us about the Society and yourself?
Lois: Since doing the exhibition at Cat’s Protection I’ve gotten to know quite a few of our members and they feel like family. I hope the Society continues to grow, producing good quality work for cat lovers. We’ve had so much interaction through Facebook and Twitter. There is much more of a buzz about the Society now. It’s great, long may it continue.
Alice: So this is one of your pieces, WOW!
Alice: Thank you so much for talking to us!
Lois: Thank you!
Society of Feline Artists S.O.F.A
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This was a fabulous post and interview!! What a great exhibition and you look so pretty in your scarf! Wish we had that here in Michigan!
Thank you! I heard there is a society for pet artists in US, not exclusively cats but pets. I need to google that for you 🙂
This is amazing! Love it!!