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Vintage-Inspired Matchbox Art Features Tipsy Cat Characters in Bars


Most would agree that alcohol and silly scenarios go hand in hand. Whether those nights were the best of times or times you’d rather forget, we’ve all been there. Denver-based artist Arna Miller and her husband Ravi Zupa celebrate those relatable late-night hours in their charming series of matchbox art. However, rather than illustrate the embarrassing moments of inebriated humans, the duo chose anthropomorphic felines as their subjects. The series, titled Strike Your Fancy, depicts tipsy cat characters in a variety of comical circumstances, from group sing-songs to drunken story telling.

The creative duo take inspiration from early 20th-century illustrations found in books, on vintage packaging, and magic show posters. However, it’s old matchbook art in particular that influences their collaborative work. “Before the ‘Strike Your Fancy’ series, we did a collaboration for one of my art shows and decided on matchboxes because they are so odd and magical,” Zupa tells My Modern Met. “We made 40 designs around the theme of social justice using Jose Posada’s block prints as an inspiration for the style.”

The idea for their party-loving kitty illustrations came from one of Miller’s earlier works. She explains, “I made a poster of a cat with a beer for one of my shows, and later wanted to do a whole series of cats drinking. Ravi and I talked about it, and it turned into what you see.” Each tiny, 1.5″ x 2.25″ box makes the perfect little canvas for the charming, vintage-inspired illustrations. Every matchbox is made by hand in the couple’s home using the age-old woodblock printing technique. Miller reveals, “We can make everything ‘in-house’—from cutting and sanding the boards that we mount the art on to printing the packaging we use to ship it.”

Discover Miller and Zupa’s making process below and buy the matchboxes individually or as a complete set on the artists’ website.

Artist Arna Miller and her husband Ravi Zupa celebrate those relatable late-night scenarios in their charming series of matchbox art.

Cat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa

The series, titled Strike Your Fancy, depicts tipsy cat characters in a variety of funny (and comically relatable) circumstances.

Cat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa

Each 1.5″ x 2.25″ artwork is made in the couple’s home using the age-old woodblock printing technique.

Cat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi ZupaCat Matchbox Art by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa

Watch their creative process below.

Arna Miller: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest
Ravi Zupa: Website | Instagram |  Vimeo

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa.

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