“Illusion is the first of all pleasures” Voltaire
Richard Saunders is a surrealist artist who creates photo montages from photographs he takes. It began when he took a photo in the garden of a historic house which had a huge cloud topiary & it captured his interest. He wondered if he could create a topiary cat in memory of his beloved cat Tolly who died in February 2016. He photographed Tolly in a position to match the bushes & went ahead & successfully created The Topiary cat images. A series of breathtakingly beautiful images of outside paces filled with the most striking & beautiful cat topiary. Tolly, the model for the topiary cat was a Russian Blue. A beautiful breed, long & slender, large ears, fine boned with intensely vivid green eyes & a beautiful silver coat.
The first Topiary Cat image that Richard created was posted on Flickr which is a photo sharing website & from there posted on facebook with Richards copyright credit removed, it was posted on a page called Amazing Places without Richards permission. It was posted claiming that Richard’s Topiary Cat was real. Not surprising the image attracted thousands of views from members of the public drawn to the beauty of the image. The landscapes are divine, the Topiary Cat is mesemerising & so cleverly constructed it does make one feel that the cat is indeed a very real part of the space that it fills. I think it is a spectacular piece of work.
The Topiary Cat came to the attention of someone from the BBC who created a story for their online page which was shared worldwide on dozens of news & blog sites. The image of The Topiary Cat drinking at Painshill park had over 3 million hits on Richards own facebook page & his topiary cat website had so much traffic it crashed. Richard has been a surrealist painter since his teenage years & has learned to use photoshop as part of his work as creative director & art director in advertising. Richard says that “the idea of creating the Topiary Cat while Tolly was still alive was easily accomplished with skills I already knew. The images have become more complicated since, taking days to produce, with tailor made photos taken for them”
When Tolly died Richard was understandably too upset to continue the work. But ,was persuaded by his army of loyal followers to create more in Tolly’s memory. Richard says that the images help people who are coming to terms with the devastating loss of their own feline best friends. Richard has since created 3d images, puzzles & a novel which you can hear on Youtube. The original topiary cat has been joined by another Russian Blue named Georgi who is nearly 4 years old. His alter ego in the images is called GK by his topiary mentor. I would urge you to visit Richard & his glorious images. You can find The Topiary cat on facebook here and on Richards website here