Deconstructed Calico

I’ve been making a virtual collection of calico cat images on Pinterest. I have a board called “Deconstructed Calico,” because I kept finding images with the calico palette (red/orange, black, and white) that weren’t pictures of calico cats! I’ve found that trio of colors–plus the often added complement, green–on images of quilts, on African textiles, paintings of the Aboriginal dreamtime, on cat cartoons, and on stationery.

I love how it looks like the artist, photographer, or designer thought about calico cats, but then distilled out the colors and applied them in other manners than just being combined on one cat (or tricolor collie, or Beagle, or . . . . ).

I’ve been wanting to share some of these images in various blog posts, but (tech spoiler), I can’t get any of them to upload, so damn, I give up trying to share them here. I’m just going to share the link to my “Deconstructed Calico” Pinterest board instead, and you can wander on over and see the red/black/white textiles and Manets and stationery!

I hope you like all the ways in which calico gets expressed . . . if you think about it:

If you have some images of calico split into its three constituent colors–like the image below–and you want to share, please leave a comment with a link to the image.

Pinterest featue in Metro - 27th February 2012

Pinterest feature in Metro – 27th February 2012 (Photo credit: Great British Chefs)


Calicos In Business

Calico Cat Motel

I love this sign! I’ve had the image on my desktop for months, waiting to go into a blog post. It isn’t the pinkish cat image I like (not very calico), but the coloring and typography of the sign itself, especially the words “Calico Cat”. Cool, retro font! I found the photo of the sign on Pinterest (yes, home to my many calico images) and the hotel is apparently in Tacoma, WA.

I’d almost stay there just for the sign. I wonder if it’s a hip motel, or one of those, um, motels by-the-hour kind of place.

I’ve been collecting calico images in three categories beyond the obvious one of calico cat images:

1) other calico (i.e., tricolor) animals,

2) what I call “deconstructed calico”–i.e., anything using the calico palette not in one cat, and sometimes not in a cat at all, and

3) calico cats on objects (like this sign), as objects. What I might call calico-as-commodity or calicos in advertising. Regular readers of Catty Callie may remember my informal marketing survey of how often images of calicos and tricolors are used to sell pet products.

Here is another cool calico-in-business, the Cat & Fiddle in Los Angeles:

Cat & Fiddle

And just in case you’re visiting Tokyo soon, you can go to the Calico Cat Cafe (see below). Do send along any other images you’ve found of calicos in business!

Cats and the “Aesthetic Sense”

I have found lots of great images of calicos on Pinterest. One source of interesting classical Japanese and Chinese images is a board called “Classical Asian Paintings at the Museum of Cat Art” (found here). It is part of an extensive “Museum of Cat Art” at Pinterest. There are numerous other boards of Japanese cat art there as well. I’m not sure who runs it, or I would tell you!

[*Breaking news update: I found out who is the curator there. It is Tama Neko. Good work, Tama!]

This is a link to my calico board on Pinterest (click here).

In case you were about to roll your eyes and think, “Yeah, cat people are crazy!” read this quote, which is the slogan for the Museum of Cat Art on Pinterest:

“To respect the cat is the beginning of the aesthetic sense.” – Erasmus Darwin

So there.

Now enjoy!

Source: viaCat on Pinterest

Source: via Coco on Pinterest

Now this is a busy Japanese piece with lots of busy calicos!

Source: via Coco on Pinterest

Notice the clever little calico kitten playing in the lower left-hand corner in the image below, and the other one hiding just to the right of what’s probably the mother cat:


Source: via Coco on Pinterest

Source: via Coco on Pinterest


The image is by Kaho Tuye, who lived in the 17th century.

Source: via Coco on Pinterest

(The Zen Cat)

A Visual Poem (In Calico Colors)

I wanted to share a piece called “High Density” by Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 – 1999) because of the text and the colors she used. It is a visual poem–or Vispo–done in a beautiful calico palette. I can’t get it to embed correctly, so here it a link to it on the tumblr blog of visual poet Anatol Knotek:

Now that I did that, Zemanta/Wordpress is suggesting these other art works–in the calico palette. How can it tell what I mean by that?? I mean, is it making visual matches, or does the search feature understand what ‘calico’ means?

But wait! I guess I should have done my research before posting, hmm? Zemanta just knows Rosalie Gascoigne’s work when it sees her name. It didn’t give me her name with the captions provided (see below), but the first two are her work. I don’t know why the second one says “Gascoigne Monaro,” except that I learned she lived in the Monaro area (in Australia) at some point.

Here is a link to a gallery/site about her work:


Metropolis, 1999 (detail)

Metropolis, 1999 (detail) (Photo credit: aur2899)

gascoigne monaro

Gascoigne Monaro (Photo credit: One Thousand Words)

Poem and calligraph

Poem and calligraph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More Calico Aesthetic

I found this beautiful image from Marrakech, Morocco, on Pinterest (from hamacle via Flickr).

While it looks like the cat may be white with black rather than calico, look at the tile to which the white cat is foreground and counterpoint. Though the salmon pink color is dominant, the calico trio of orange, black, and white is integral to the design and brings in the calico palette.

I think the photographer was drawn, probably unconsciously, to photograph this cat against the tile because the cat + tile combination creates that calico palette to which we are drawn–as I wrote about yesterday in my post “The Calico Aesthetic.” The green here is a signature color of Islam, so its presence as an accent color in the tile also makes sense. I’m not sure if the salmon pink/rose color has a particular resonance in Morocco, but I take note of how our word for that shade refers it back to the kingdom of living things–the salmon and the rose.

Just as lots of recent research has discovered that our physical sensations can influence our judgment very literally (i.e., holding a warm drink makes us feel warmer toward the person we’re with), I think our sense of reality is far more influenced by our sense of the animal than we know. That is to say, our understanding of reality is very patchwork–very calico!–and is cobbled together from our intimacy with everything animal, vegetable, and mineral.