Meet Illustrating Cat Guy, Ikki Matsumoto


Ikki Matsumoto has never been at a loss for subjects. During one period when he was raising his family in Ohio, the household included “two sons, one daughter, five horses, one donkey, three dogs, a lot of cats, four goats, a dozen or so chickens, a few ducks, one monkey and a skunk.”

He was born in pre-WWII Japan to a well-known cartoonist and Children’s book illustrator, and that DNA is evident in his work. He moved to the U.S. in the mid-50s to study art, which included a stint studying under the renowned humorous wildlife artist, Charles Harper. After graduating from art school he married fellow student and fiber artist Polly Adamson.

Ikki worked in the commercial advertising field for many years (in 1972 he illustrated The Joy of Cooking), but he yearned to create fine art, so in the mid 70s, he and Polly moved to Sanibel Island, Florida where he established a career as a painter and printmaker using the native birds as his subjects.

In 1985 Ikki was one of 50 artists chosen by first lady, Nancy Reagan to paint an Easter egg. It is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum

It was love at first site when I saw this series of cat prints by Ikki. Both spare and whimsical, they reflect the artist’s love for all creatures great and small. Single offset litho prints are $30; the set of four is a steal at $100.

You can see Ikki’s work here.

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