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Adriana Gasperi is an international artist referred to as “Gatos ilimitados” for her unique and popular portrayal of cats. The artist, who lives in Venezuela, is recognized for personifying the cherished feline and its multi-faceted personalities. Her art combines her lifelong interest in painting and drawing and her proficiency in color, design, and computer programs. She adorns the faces and bodies of her subjects with colorful designs inspired by Indian and Mexican motifs. Her paintings have been shown in one-person and group exhibitions worldwide. They include those held at Galería Intramuros in Caracas, Venezuela, the Cat Art Show Los Angeles, and the Tokyo International Art Fair 2016, among others. Her paintings are in numerous private collections in Europe, South America and the United States.
What does Gatos Ilimitados mean in English, and how did you pick this name for your art?
It means “cats unlimited,” as they are unlimited since they are free from all restrictions related to their feline condition. It’s difficult to set limits to cats as they can jump, hide, squeeze into small spaces, therefore we end up surrendering and letting them do whatever they want.
How did you get into painting cats?
I’ve always loved painting and drawing, and animals, mostly cats (I try not to refer to them as animals since they behave like humans). After working a full time job and freelancing as a graphic designer for many years, I needed something else, so I started experimenting with different themes and media until one day I drew a round cat just to see where it would get me, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I see art as a way to express myself and feel free. Cats are independent, silent, solitaire, mysterious, and as I said before, they do whatever they please. So I try to capture not only their image but how they behave at that specific moment. Are they sleeping or just laying on our favorite chair daring us to tell them to move? They do not like to be told what to do. It is pretty much my personality I guess.
Tell us a little about how you developed your style of painting.
I am a Graphic Designer, and, as you can see, my paintings have lots of designs. My cats are always geometrical, I need to balance everything in a given space, like columns in a magazine. So I guess my background in design reveals itself very strongly in my paintings.
What is the creative process for like for you?
I have ideas all the time and sketch frequently. I draw my cats measuring everything, first perfect circles for their heads, then the thin line for their mouth, then comes the nose. Their eyes have to be in perfect position and, depending on what they are doing, I draw their pupils, open or close, as they react to noise, light, attention. For the background, I always look for interesting color combinations and designs. It could be from a simple piece of fabric to nature itself as vegetables or flowers. Sometimes I just start drawing different shapes. And now I started using my iPad Pro and Procreate for digital illustrations, which is interesting, but the feel of the paint brush is irreplaceable.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I see my own cats and imagine them floating in lines, shapes and colors. I observe their behavior and their expression and place them in different scenarios. Cats are always giving me ideas. Social media is a great source of inspiration, too. And I always like to help cat shelters and volunteers, whenever I donate part of my proceedings or a painting to be auctioned or for a raffle to raise funds for food, medicines, spay/neuter events, I feel that my art has a more important purpose beyond making the buyer happy, and it feels great for the client as well, because they know they are contributing to a great cause when they get one of my paintings.
Tell us about your cats.
We have 9 cats. Merlin, Carlotta, Musti, Mandrake, Lychee Fu, Miró, Kali, Macchiata and Milana, from 17 years old to 6 months old. Most of them are adopted, or are rescues and fosters which stayed because they became friends with my other cats. All have different personalities. We accept cats as they are, and if there’s one thing I have learned from them it is that accepting others as they are is the key to healthier relationships.
What does a purrfect day look like for you?
A rainy day, a rich soy cappuccino to get me started, no phone calls, working in my art studio with a couple of my feline art critics around, who take turns visiting or asking me to put down my paint brush and pay some attention to them, and good music. I am a huge fan of Bossa Nova and Jazz.
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