Dash of Inspiration
Post for GCU Community Blog
The year was 1995, I was an owner of an art gallery with three other artists. Two were painters, one was a textile artist and then there was me; a photographer who was still developing film and prints in my own darkroom. These partners decided to have a show titled ‘Faces’. Their idea was to create HUGE faces to put out in the garden and in the windows. I was at a loss . . .
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Featured Artist May/June 2011 on My Point of View
We have been featuring artists for over a year and sadly not kept their entire interview for those who missed. Effective immediately rather than removing the interviews for the the next artist, we will move them here to make room for the upcoming feature. This is a condensed version, with less art featured so be sure to follow the links and see more art.
I'm really delighted to introduce you to Betty Matsumoto-Schuch who is the artist and creator behind Kontinental Kitties featuring those whimsical cats Bud & Tony! I have been a fan for quite some time now, stopping at EVERY Bud & Tony card I see for quick chuckle, but the artist behind this comical duo has always been a mystery to me...I knew I'd love her, how could you not? She's obviously a cat lover and very talented artist, but who IS Betty Matsumoto-Schuch? And are Bud & Tony really her cats? Well... let me answer that last question...YES!
Home to Betty for the past 26-years is Northern, California where she happily resides with her husband, cats (and for a time 1 dog and 2 parakeets).
Please enjoy getting to know Betty and her feline muses of Kontinental Kitties, and be sure to visit all her sites so you can keep up with the Adventures of Bud & Tony!
Bud & Tony Spa Cats ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: Tell us about yourself
Betty: "I am originally from Mesa, Arizona, where I worked as Exhibition Designer for The Arizona Museum for Youth designing their participatory art exhibits and graphics. My training is in Art Education. During this period I pursued my interest in greeting cards on the side, and created several watercolor works for Sunrise Publications. From the museum I chose to move to Northern California in 1986 to work for R. Dakin & Company designing the graphics for various product packaging, and some gift ware.
Celebrate eastern philosophy, with mindful karate kitty ch'i. Have a very enlightened Birthday. Bud & Tony Martial Arts Cats ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
After 5 years there and some decent commercial experience under my belt, I ventured out on my own as a freelance designer, creating a wide range of gift ware for The San Francisco Music Box Company, Da Mert, Natural Wonders, Disney and various other companies which involved everything from complex illustrations to simple graphics, all the while realizing that this is REALLY fun to do.
All during this time my husband and I shared our love of cats and dogs...but mostly cats. There's something about their independent nature that appeals to our personalities. This has led me to Bud & Tony our two domestic short hair cats who are the original inspiration for my greeting cards and varied products out there on the web."
Bud & Tony's Garage ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: How long have you been working as an artist?
Betty: "I've been working as an artist for 35 years...I'd like to say I started when I was four, but that wouldn't be truthful. I've always loved art growing up, but I didn't actually start getting paid to do art until I was twenty years old... which makes me... oh well, you do the math."
SOA: What medium(s) do you work in?
Betty: "My favorite mediums are many, but I especially love transparent watercolors, Prismacolor pencils, oil paints, and acrylics. For me, there's something about the look and feel of the 'old school' mediums and techniques that just don't interpret the same digitally. I prefer to blend the look of old school illustration with digital type/copy where it feels best suited to a project."
Bud & Tony Grocery Bag ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: What is your favorite tool of the trade and why?
Betty: "I couldn't live without my Windsor Newton Series 7 watercolor brushes. I've not found any comparable brushes yet that compare to the quality and control that they provide. They are worth every penny spent, and I take very good care of them as a result. I must add that I also couldn't live without my Adobe Illustrator software as well. Most of my graphic design projects begin and end in Illustrator."
Bud & Tony Fishing on the Dock ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: Tell us about Bud and Tony! How long have they been your purrfect muse?
Betty: "My characters Bud & Tony evolved out of the inspiration I gained from acquiring both kitties from separate circumstances. Bud came from a family who's young son was just a bit too 'rough' with the fledgling kitten, so he came aboard our home at around 4 months old. Tony came 4 years later as a rescue from a feral family of kittens destined to live on the streets. Both cats were 'characters' from the very beginning.
Bud & Tony Flying Kites ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
Bud barely tolerated Tony at first, but they soon learned to live with one another, idiosyncrasies and all. 'Original' Bud was actually a very muscular all black male feline with just a hint of white on his belly. The 'character' Bud I interpreted as a black and white tuxedo cat, because I felt it dignified his persona. Tony on the other hand is your classic orange tabby, very 'Morris-like', but with an 'ornery' streak.
We lost 'original' Bud in the summer of 2009 due to kidney failure at the age of 13, which was just heartbreaking, but I was determined for 'Bud & Tony' to live on as the two boisterous renaissance kitties that they had become in their caricature created world.
We still have Tony, who is going on 11, and is still providing me with fodder for my ever continuing line of kitty creations."
Bud & Tony Snorkeling ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: What inspires you to create the wonderful adventures that Budd and Tony take?
Betty: "I like to think that all of the adventures that Bud & Tony pursue are somewhat of a combination of my own travels and internal desires and interests, some of which are parallel and others just my own vicarious way of seeing the world. For Bud & Tony there will always be places to see and things to do."
Kontinental Kitties Aloha! ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: Do you have additional themes or collections other than Kontinental Kitties?
Betty: "I am slowly adding some other Cat characters to my Kontinental Kitties mix. Cheeto & Michi are respectively, an orange & white Tabby, and a Siamese, based on some rescue cats for adoption that I saw at our local feed store. Also there are Fred & Sammy who are still on my drawing board waiting to be brought to life and into the pipeline."
Bud & Tony We Love Pasta! ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: If you could give one piece of advice to an artist just starting out in today’s world, what would that be?
Betty: "As an artist, I try to soak up every bit and piece of artistic advice that comes to me and utilize it to better my work, whether it is a serious critique, or a subtle hint of compositional opinion. We sometimes get stuck in seeing only our own interpretation of a concept or design, and miss out on the possibility of making a good piece even better. Learn to separate constructive artistic criticism from who you are as a person and your best work will ascend."
Bud & Tony Tulip Cats ©Betty Matsumoto-Schuch
SOA: Describe yourself as an artist using only the words & phrases that best suits you.
Betty: "Detail oriented, upbeat style, colorful, positive, passionate, perfectionist, taskmaster, interested, curious, humorous"
I want to thank Betty for taking the time out of Bud & Tony's lives to grant us this opportunity to get to know her and her feline muses. Be sure to keep track of this comical duo!
Special thanks to BUD & TONY the two main stars of this interview. As Betty says; "They're groovy cats with Cattitude & Spunk who love to entertain anyone who'll share their offbeat style of adventures and BUD & TONY are still the Big Cats On Campus."
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