Arna Miller is an illustrator/print maker/graphic designer out of Denver whose work is often pawpulated with cats. She just released a group of cat prints that look like something from 1893, very Victorian, sweetly absurd.
Her most recent show–Stop Pouring Gasoline on the Fire, and Other Stories About Cats–opened at the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco.
By utilizing animals as her main characters, she transform narrative scenes from sensible to comically absurd. These animals–squirrels, frogs, monkeys–are thrown out of their natural elements and humanized within domestic scenarios. What was once commonplace and respectable becomes charmingly ludicrous.
Her most notable character – the cat – lends itself to a particular absurdity and relatability. Miscreants in their own right, their stubborn autonomy and disregard for consequence resonate with her human audience; by using cats to explore the humor and accidental charm in everyday moments, Miller convincingly proposes to us all that mistakes are just a part of life.
Inspired by Victorian-era postcards and ephemera, the soft color palette and illustrative style of this new collection evoke nostalgia and familiarity. This gentle aesthetic is contrasted with comical narrative text, further humanizing her absurd animal characters. Drawing on humor as a participatory tool, these moral narratives serve to minimize the apparent gravity of self-inflicted human suffering. Miller’s audience cannot help but personally resonate with these strong-willed cats who deliberately disregard the potential consequences of their actions and rebound from their mistakes with lovable absurdity and charming resolve.