David Yow is part punk, part cat lady.
The 53-year-old is best known as the front-man of noise rock bands Scratch Acid and the Jesus Lizard. But he recently discovered a new creative outlet — drawing pictures of cats. The purrific illustrations are mostly inspired by puns — one, titled “Cat Burglar,” is a cat dressed as a thief; another, “Catatonic,” is a drunk cat. Now, Gowanus publisher Akashic Books is releasing a cat-o-log of Yow’s work, which he will present at Word bookstore in Greenpoint on Aug. 5.
The Brooklyn Paper reporter Danielle Furfaro caught up with Yow to talk about the cat-alyst for his unique art.
Danielle Furfaro: When did you start doing cat drawings?
David Yow: At the very end of the 1970s, when I was just getting into punk rock, I was with a dear friend of mine named Tom. I drew a cat and put “Tom” on it. I ended up making a bunch of drawings with silly puns. I did about 20 of them on three- by five-inch pieces of paper. My mom used to have them stuck on a black poster board in the laundry room of my parents’ house. Then she passed away and I have no idea what happened to them.
DF: Have you been consistently drawing cat puns all these years?
DY: I was not doing it consistently at all. In fact, I probably hadn’t drawn any in years. But, a few years ago, I got asked out of the blue to do a one-man art show. I hadn’t done serious paintings since college, so I had a lot of paintings to do in a short amount of time. I did a domestic cat that was huge, three feet by three feet in an ornate gaudy gold frame, and it looked so cool I decided to start making them again.
DF: Which cat is your favorite?
DY: My favorite does not have a cat in it at all. It is “Stray Cat” and it is just a picture of a wall. Of the ones that do have cats, I don’t think I have a favorite. If I picked one, the others would get angry or at least their feelers would be hurt.
DF: Do you have any actual cats?
DY: Right now, I have a cat named Little Buddy, and he just celebrated his eighth birthday. My girlfriend has two cats, Vinny and Neko.
DF: Did you draw any of the cats to look like actual cats?
DY: Only the celebrity ones, like Stimpson J. Cat and Sylvester and Grumpy Cat. If there was a Stimpy [of Ren and Stimpy] in real life and his portrait was done in my cat style, [Stimpson J. Cat] is what he would look like.
DF: You also recently started doing a cooking segment on kids’ TV show Pancake Mountain. Tell me about that.
DY: We’ve done three episodes, but we have only put two up so far. Next time, I want to do a really complicated recipe, something like toasted peanut butter and jelly. [Show creator] Scott Stuckey comes up with a ideas for the recipe — like ants on a log, but I do not even consider that a recipe.
David Yow presents “Copycat: And a Litter of Other Cats” at Word [126 Franklin St. between Milton and Noble streets in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.org]. Aug. 5 at 7 pm. Free.