Got a Match? Hooligan Cats as Art…

I’ve been utterly charmed by the printmaking art of Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa at the Treasure Prizes studio in Denver. Their most recent collection is faux-vintage matchboxes featuring ne’er-do-well hooligan cats engaged in all manner of shenanigans:

Each box is $20 (shipped sans matches).


Arna said:

I draw in pencil and use visual references from books and the internet. My aim is to create narrative illustrations that depict magical moments.

I find inspiration in book illustrations, vintage packaging, matchboxes, magic show posters, and early-20th century illustrations.

I often use text to tell part of the story, but like to leave most of the narrative up to the viewer.

My guiding rule—which I sometimes break—is Possible, but Not Likely. For example, it’s possible for a vole to sit on a cigarette box and float down a river, but it is not likely. On the other hand, dinosaurs didn’t have laptops and headphones, so I would not draw that.


I began doing art late in life—or so it felt at the time. I was in my mid-twenties and after hearing the 10,000-hours-to-master-a-skill theory, I felt compelled to frantically catch up.

Before all that, when everything crashed in 2008, I lost my job at an architecture firm. It was for the best. I felt guilty that I didn’t want to work in an office or use my degree, so I was grateful when the decision to leave was made for me.

I’d fantasized about being a creator and working for myself for a long time. After leaving the world of offices, I immediately signed up for a screen printing class and took ongoing drawing and painting classes at the Art Students’ League of Denver. My main goal was freedom, so I got out of credit card debt and designed my lifestyle to be simple and frugal.

After years of having affordable-but-windowless studios in less than ideal locations—next to the men’s bathroom, by a train crossing, sharing a thin wall with a lawnmower repair shop—I now have my own studio, in my own home!


Arna also gives workshops in printmaking at her studio. (I wish I lived closer!) Explore her work at Treasure Prizes.

4 thoughts on “Got a Match? Hooligan Cats as Art…

  1. I have to say these really catch the eye, and hard to believe they are not period boxes either. All credit to the artiste who did them. I will try to get some of these put on my birthday wish list as they are totally engaging items, thanks for sharing!
    Toodle pips and purrs

Comments are closed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers