Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

The Catnip Eaters

First I found a picture of a fat cat. The internet is full of them, okay.

Fat cat


Then, using Gimp, I used FILTERS>ARTISTIC>OILIFY, and used Mask Size: 8 and Component: 8 to get this:

Fat Cat oilify

I thought it looked good, the oilify-ed pic. It kept enough detail that you could tell that it was a cat and you could still see some personality in the cat’s face. It turns out, this wasn’t enough to blend in to the painting, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Next, I used the Scissors Select Tool (from the toolbar) to outline the cat. Dot by dot, I outlined the thing that I wanted to copy into the other picture, until I had outlined the entire object. Then I clicked in the outline and got the marching ants (do it, you’ll see what I mean).

Absinthe how to

Now, I’ve got something to copy. So I copied it, and pasted it into the jpeg of Edgar Degas’s “The Absinthe Drinker.”

The cat, unfortunately, looked too sharp for the painting. So I went back into FILTERS>ARTISTIC>OILIFY and did Mask Size: 33 and Component: 8. Then I used a layer mask to put the fat cat behind what I think is an ashtray, but, in the context of the painting, hopefully comes off as a small bowl of illicit, mind-altering catnip (we’ll get into layer masks in the next tutorial on Color Splash).

The final project ended up affecting me more than I thought it would. The relationship between artifice–the insertion of the cat, the altering of a fine art masterpiece for humorous effect–and madness and addiction got to me. There is something toxic here, but it’s not the same, class-conscious poison that Degas was pointing at. Once I had made the piece I began to wonder if the proliferation of preciousness on the internet doesn’t somehow mimic the filtered faculties brought on by absinthe addiction. None of this was intended. I was just trying to be funny.

Maybe it is just a joke. Maybe I’ve just been reading too much Ron Burnett for class.

Anyway. Check out some more awesome examples here and here.


The Catnip Eaters, 2013, fake oil on digital canvas

The Catnip Eaters, 2013, fake oil on digital canvas

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This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 by in design, umdst and tagged , , , , .
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