Late nineteenth century cabarets and music halls are an endless source of fascination to creative types: so many varied and colourful characters to draw inspiration from.
Le Chat Noir is one such venue, established in November 1881 by the artist Rodolphe Salis, and touted by himself as: “…the most extraordinary cabaret in the world. You rub shoulders with the most famous men of Paris, meeting there with foreigners from every corner of the world.”
Salis produced his own journal too, filled with illustrations, or ‘stories without words’ – comic strips virtually, featuring cats or other animals. Adolphe Willette, Caran d’Ache and Theóphile-Alexandre Steinlen were principal illustrators; it was Steinlen who created the image that is most famous today, hung on walls all over the world.
I wonder what they would have thought of my pussycat, grasping for a dragonfly? Inspired in part by my striped hat (pounced upon last year in Dalat, Vietnam), I nevertheless found the notion of a cabaret cat far more appealing than the cartoonish antics of Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. Miaow.