Cat Portrait Artist Laura Kicey and Her Inspiration Olive And Rye | Outlaw Kritters Gifts & Jewelry for Dog, Cat & Animal lovers.
August 09, 2016

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Cat Portrait Artist Laura Kicey and Her Inspiration Olive And Rye

Meet Laura Kicey and her two cats Olive and Rye.

Laura Kicey and her two cats and inspiration for her cat art company Olive & Rye Cat Art

It appears that these three ladies have become quite famous in the cat world. With over 92K followers on Instagram at the time of this post, @Oliveandrye are causing quite the stir. Their humom, Laura Kicey is too. She's become a favorite among the Instagram cat community for creating graphic portraits of favorite felines in fanciful settings. Not to mention big name retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Architectural Digest who have licensed her work. Keep your eye out for this fun feline loving gal's work which can be found on mugs, bags, pillows and more. If you want your own original Laura Kicey cat portrait, check out the links at the bottom of the page to get your booked.

How do animals inspire your artwork?

My entire life, I have always been an art maker on some level. As a child I drew birds constantly. As an adult, when I got back into photography, I actually mostly avoided photographing my then-cat Maggie for fear I would be seen as a crazy cat lady. When my boyfriend and I adopted Olive and Rye, I set up a separate Instagram account for them and just wanted to make a little avatar drawing for their profile. As I got more involved in the COI community, I started doing cat portraits for friends, making themed art for the holidays, as well as holding giveaways which lead to my opening up my Etsy shop in January 2015 to sell custom portraits and other items with my other cat art printed on them. Being able to look at photos of cats all day, which is something I enjoy anyway, learn about their personalities and inject that imagery with my own creative flourish is basically the best job ever in my estimation. They are beautiful, expressive creatures and I love capturing that.

 portrait of IG user @seniorscrappy by cat artist Laura Kicey of Olive and Rye Cats

portrait of kitty on Instagram @seniorscrappy

What medium do you work in?

I draw in Adobe Illustrator with a Wacom tablet and stylus, so it is all digital – vectors!

Do you own any pets?

I have almost always had a cat throughout my entire life. Several times I drew my cat, Maggie, who I adopted after graduating from college and she was with me for 14 years. I adopted another cat, Hazel, when Maggie passed, but Hazel had cancer and passed away only six months later. 


We adopted Olive and Rye, our current cats and constant joy and inspiration, two years ago on August 23, 2014. We adopted them through Philly PAWS shelter in Philadelphia. Though unrelated and not previously introduced, we brought them home together and they have adopted each other as loving sisters. 


Olive is the slightly older (around 3yo) green-eyed calico and Rye is the slightly younger (2yo) golden-eyed tortie. Though Olive is older she is completely inept at being a cat – she is really bad at jumping and generally maneuvering, she doesn’t ever really meow at all. That said, she is hilariously unpredictable and a complete sweetheart, if still a bit shy, and learning all sorts of things from Rye every day. When we first brought her home, she seemed traumatized from life in the shelter, on the streets and having had a stillborn litter after her rescue. It took her more than a year to blossom really, but she has made an awesome transformation into a much more confident kitty. 


Rye is precocious, mischievous, and extremely talkative. She loves to be held, snuggled and  near people constantly. She is a skilled, but gentle hunter and compared to Olive, relatively normal for a cat and well-adjusted. 

Gatos dia de los muertos illustration by artists Laura Kicey of Olive and Rye.

gatos dia de los muertos

What is your favorite piece of artwork you’ve created?

When I first got back into drawing (and drawing cats, specifically), I recall looking at Olive one night, with her pupils quite dilated and her black nose, I realized that she looked like a skull and I was immediately moved to make a cat-themed Dia de los Muertos drawing, which was especially appropriate given that I had too-recently lost two beloved cats. I think it will always be a favorite and it is still one of my more popular designs, I think because it is very colorful and the theme of loss of a pet resonates for a lot of people.

 

Kitten Bouquet by cat illustrator Laura Kicey of Olive and Rye Cats

Kitten Bouquet

What are 3 of your favorite animal inspired songs?

The Cure’s “Love Cats”
Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussy Cat” 
Squeeze’s “Cool For Cats”


What charities or animal welfare groups are you involved with?

Since we adopted the girls from Philly PAWS, I have been regularly donating a portion of proceeds from my shop to them. I also am involved with Kawaii Kitty Café in Philadelphia who partnered with PAWS to provide adoptable cats – I created a series of Naughty Cat art pieces for their café and also sell my work on consignment there, which helps take care of the cats. I have also donated artwork to @mycatkyle’s initiative to help victims of Domestic Violence as well as their pets.

 

Portrait of  IG @samsam_ferdinand by cat illustrator Laura Kicey of Olive and Rye Cats

portrait of kitty on Instagram @samsam_ferdinand


Anything else you would like us to know about your artwork or yourself?


A couple years ago, during the harrowing year I lost two cats and a dear friend in a six month period, I was at said friend’s funeral. She was Ukrainian (as am I, partially) and much of her family speaks the language still. My last name, Kicey (rhymes with spicy), I only knew to be Americanized Ukrainian, from the original Kytsy (kitt-see). So I asked someone at the memorial if they knew how to spell that surname in Cyrillic letters, and someone obliged and also offered that the name – Киці –  actually means “kitty”. I am actually descended from cat people.

 portrait of Instagram kitty @fatchocolatecat by Laura Kicey of Olive And Rye Cats

portrait of kitty on Instagram @fatchocolatecat

You can find out more about Laura at the following online locations:

Website: Oliveandryecats.com

Esty shop-OliveAndRyeCats  - Some items are currently on sale in her Etsy shop!

Facebook: OliveandRyeCats

Tumblr: olive-and-rye.tumblr.com

IG/Twitter/Snapchat: @oliveandrye 

 

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Outlaw Kitty Metal Key Chain by Artist Jon WATTO Watson for Outlaw KrittersOutlaw Kitty Metal Key Chain by Artist Jon WATTO Watson for Outlaw Kritters

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