FRIDAY ART CAT
Monmon Cats : Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura
I was so interested to see the Monmon Cats website, which features all kinds of cat products based on tattoo designs. But on Instagram you can see some amazing tattoos, which is the main business for this company.
Via an email interview, I interviewed the creator – and tattoo artist – Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura, for the Friday Art Cat.
Horitomo has been creative and making art his whole life, tattooing being the first artistic medium. For the last 25 years he’s been making this type of art, as well as painting. He says he loves tattooing and cats because, “It is a very unique art medium, cannot be owned and it is something very personal to every person who has one. I love cats and I feel tattooed people and cats have been misunderstood throughout history in my culture.” In case you were wondering, “monmon” means “tattoo” in Japanese.
Like a lot of artists (myself included) he did not attend a formal Art school, but apprenticed tattooing under a tattoo artist in Japan named Sabado. He is skilled in tebori – Japanese hand tattooing. He drew his first tattooed cat over ten years ago under the Monmon cat label, publishing a book in 2013, “Monmon Cats” – for link see below. His other book is called “Immovable”.
Horitomo is heavily influenced by the old Japanese woodblock artists, of which there are many. One example is Takahashi Hiroaki, whom I wrote about in a previous Friday Art Cat post. But as far as non-Japanese artists, tattoo legends like Ed Hardy – and other epic artists of his generation – have inspired him. The designs feature a lot of red and black, as they are traditional Japanese tattoo colours. Also, he finds a simple colour scheme with accents is better for his designs.
The Monmon cats company is based in California in the US. “We are doing really well, better every year. But we are still a small company. We want to keep making unique and cool items for cat and tattoo lovers. I am also working on my second Monmon Cats book. Lots of new paintings!”
Thanks to Hirotomo for the interview.
All images © Monmon cats.
I am an artist who makes work of animals and people.
Three cats live with me – Maine coon Orlando, Bengal Pandora and black moggy Rio.