‘The Kittening’ by Johannah O’Donnell
I was invited to create a piece for WOW x WOW’s upcoming group show, ‘Room of a Thousand Doors’. The exhibition title made me think of multiple storylines, a series of books or movies, different worlds I could escape to. This brought me back to an idea I started exploring late last year. The first painting in this new series was ‘CAThenge’. ‘The Kittening’, my painting for this show, is the second.
Stephen King wrote a novella about a stone circle a few years back, called ‘N’. It’s a truly terrifying story, and it has definitely stuck with me. Another source of inspiration for this series is Sci-Fi and Horror B movies from the 60s and 70s – ‘The Dunwich Horror’, ‘The Sentinel’, ‘Phase IV’, and ‘The Visitor’, to name just a few. The art direction, and general all around craziness are a big influence for sure.
Once I found the inspiration for my new piece, I started hunting for reference photos (Flickr is a great source of creative commons cat pics, BTW). I then did a mock-up of my painting in Photoshop. Making digital versions of my paintings has really improved my work flow. It’s so much easier to experiment with different compositions and color schemes this way. I was a printmaker in college, and I think I’m drawn to this kind of process because it’s very incremental and methodical. It also helps me maintain consistency when I’m working on a series of paintings.
Speaking of series, this body of work is a bit of a departure from what I’ve done in the past. It’s definitely not as cheery as some of my previous stuff. That probably has something to do with current mood in the country/world. Doesn’t really feel like the right time for unicorns and rainbows (though maybe this is actually the perfect time for those things..haha). I’ve always been a fan of the spooky and the creepy, and now seems like a good time to integrate more of that into my work. I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me next.
Thanks for looking!