MaryAnnTestagrossa Art

MaryAnnTestagrossa Art
Mary Ann Testagrossa's Linocut Prints

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meaning Behind the Cat Artwork

I've been thinking about, how to put into words, the significance of this body of cat artwork that I have created.  It is all about love.  The love I feel, and felt, for my cat Motor, who passed away two years ago.  He is the inspiration behind most of the pieces in this body of work.


Motor, just brought home.
Motor was the second pet I ever adopted.  I loved him DEARLY.  He was sweet and shy and in the nine years he lived, maybe only a handful of people ever saw him.  Whenever someone would come over, Motor would run under the bed, or into the closet. He even hid from my husband.

Motor was named Motor because he was a constant purrer.  And he loved to talk.  He and I would have discussions back and forth.  He was a very happy boy, walking around with his tail up in the air most times. And he was photogenic!  I took some of my best cat photos of Motor.  He was a natural.

I haven't dealt with a lot of loss in my life as of yet, and Motor's illness and death was devastating for me.  I was so in love with him.  Unconditionally.  I used to tell my husband that Motor was my heart on the outside.  And that I wasn't sure how I would cope if he ever passed.


Motor was never sick in the eight years we had him, until he got cancer.  When he started not being interested in eating, and then throwing up, I knew something was wrong.  I won't go into the details here, but I think he lived about 3-4 weeks after his diagnosis, and they were painful for him, and for me.  It's hard to witness someone you love in pain.  My heart ached.

I told Motor in the end that I would never forget him.  I didn't know this body of artwork would be part of my remembrance.  I really couldn't do much creatively for a year after.

When I started doing linocut prints, starting with cat imagery was a no brainer for me.  I love animals.  They are my heart, my family.  I think I connect better to them than to people at times.  We have three cats right now, and a dog, Willie our schnoodle.

All the cats in the prints are from my photos of my cats.  Most of the images are of Motor.

My cats are not black cats.  My idea for using a black cat, is as a universal image or symbol for all cats.  Yes, people who have black cats may relate better to my imagery because they see the cat literally as a black cat.  But I am using the image for all breeds of cats.

So these prints are all about love for our feline friends.  And what an impact they make on our lives.  And some are about what happens to them after they pass.  Enlightened, Blessed, Wings. These are all about being on the other side of this life, as we know it.

One of the last photos I took of Motor.
To Motor,
My dear boy, I miss you everyday.  I haven't forgotten you.  I never will.
Love,
Mom