Source:  BBC (Extract)
Posted:  May 30, 2021

“My mission was for people to see them and smile, and it’s working out way better than I was expecting.”

A mysterious street artist has been stencilling cats all around a Berkshire market town and the locals have dubbed him “Catsy”.

Like his famous near-namesake Banksy, Wokingham’s Catsy also prefers to remain anonymous.

His work has also appeared out of nowhere, and over the course of a year he has become something of a local legend.

Catsy started his clutter of cats – produced with a cardboard stencil, a spray can, and some stick-on eyes – to amuse his godchildren in their garden.

They were so taken with them that he started placing them along their path to school.

“They loved it, their friends were taking different routes to see them, and it snowballed from there,” he says.

But the turning point was when he sprayed a fetching feline on a fence outside a nursing home.

“I saw all the old ladies coming out and looking at it – they loved it.

“Then their fence was blown down in a storm, but when I went back there they repaired it and actually cut the cat out of the old fence and put it onto the new one.

“That was when I thought people actually like these.”

When his artwork outside a local vet was shared on social media, the community began to embrace Catsy as a welcome addition to Wokingham’s cultural landscape.

Rosie Skinner, from the Emmview Veterinary Centre, said it was “lovely to have a bit of original street art on our pillar”.

“It’s cute, and it’s nice for our clients to look at while they’re having to wait outside [because of Covid].

“It makes us feel part of the community to be included. And we’re big cat fans, so he fits in really well with our way of seeing things.”

Though some of Catsy’s kittys have been removed from outside local supermarkets, he believes about 30 to 40 of his creations are still dotted around the town.

Each cat takes about a minute to produce, but he admits the process, undertaken at night, is often “nerve-wracking”.

“Often when I get home I have to have a cup of tea to calm back down again,” he says.

Why did Catsy decide cats were the best way to make his mark on the town he has lived in all his life?

“Cats are a simple image artistically that stands out, it’s just something nice. Easily identifiable, and inoffensive.”

“It’s a nice little surprise when you see one,” he adds, and no doubt fans of cats, and Catsy, would agree.

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