I’ve never been a particular fan of topiaries–I’m more of a wild child gardener–but these cat topiaries could change my mind.
One day a “surrealist” artist from Stapleford, Hertfordshire, UK Richard Saunders, spied an ornamental shrub that resembled the shape of his beloved pet cat while asleep. His ongoing cat topiary project, in which he creates images that replace real greenscaping with cat topiaries, has generated millions of views worldwide.
All images feature Tolly, the 69-year-old Saunders’ Russian Blue .
The first image he created took a photograph of his beloved Tolly–who went to The Bridge in February–and cropped it into a photograph he took at Hall Barn, in Beaconsfield, where he had spotted a topiary shaped like a cloud.
“It reminded me of an animal sleeping, and I thought to myself ‘you could change that into a cat quite easily’,” Saunders recalls.
A later image, depicting a topiary cat drinking water from a lake in Surrey, got 3.25 million views on Facebook.
“I’m fascinated by how things go viral – I never planned to make any money out of the project. It’s just a bit of fun,” says Saunders.
Despite making it very clear that the topiaries are art, not real life, about 25% of those who see them think they’re real.
Saunders says that he always breaks the news to people who think they are real, adding that he would “rather be known for my art than my deception”.
“I try to correct people, but sometimes they don’t want to know.”