CULTURE MONSTER

'Cat Art Show L.A. 2': How Amanda Seyfried became Mark Ryden's muse

Here’s how Amanda Seyfried’s art world wish — to be transformed by Los Angeles artist Mark Ryden into a caricature-on-canvas “with blood trickling down my throat and me holding a dead cat” — came true. And where you can view the pop surrealist painting this weekend.

In a 2011 “W” magazine interview, Seyfried leaked the tidbit that she wanted, more than anything, to be Ryden’s artistic muse. Ryden picked up on the hint and painted the new work, “Amanda,” in his Eagle Rock studio last month.

Ryden created the painting specifically for the upcoming “Cat Art Show L.A. 2: The Sequel,” which opens at downtown L.A.’s Think Tank Gallery this Thursday. The group exhibition of more than 125 paintings, sculptures and photographs by 70 international artists was created and curated by “the cat lady of the art world,” Susan Michals.

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The exhibition also includes a giant black-and-white limited-edition print created by London-based photographer Rich Hardcastle in collaboration with Ricky Gervais. The piece, “Routine Mischief,” features Gervais in a furry cat costume and is a subtle nod to the Golden Globes host’s love-hate relationship with Hollywood.

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For the record

8:09 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Ricky Gervais as an Oscars host. He hosted the Golden Globes.

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Also on view: work by 95-year-old cat photographer Walter Chandoha; a wide-eyed Margaret Keane-like cat portrait, “Soft Kitty,” by Ryden’s wife, Marion Peck; work by the L.A.-based art duo Cyrcle; a photograph by “The Walking Dead’s” Norman Reedus shot in a Russian prison and depicting two inmates and a cat; a self-portrait by tattoo artist-model Kat Von D with her hairless cats; and a signature cat cake by artist Scott Hove, who collaborated with street artist Banksy on last year’s Dismaland exhibition.   

“It’s a celebration of cats and a great opportunity to expose people to art with cats as a vessel,” says Michals, who’s also a journalist and the creator of CatCon L.A. “It’s a great combo platter of art — we have artists like Ryden, who is world-renowned, and Simon Tofield, who created the cartoon “Simon’s Cat, which has over half a billion views on YouTube. What I see in cats, they have these quixotic and unpredictable personalities. For a creative person — a painter, sculptor or writer — they’re a natural source of beauty and inspiration.”

Michals, who has a Maine Coon named Miss Kitty Pretty Girl, produced the cat art show with Daniel Salin, who also produced Banksy’s 2006 street art exhibition “Barely Legal” on downtown L.A.’s skid row.

As for Seyfried’s vision for her Ryden reinvention, the actress added in “W:” “It’s morbid and fun and dark, obviously, but I love that.”

Here’s a sneak peek of some works in the upcoming catastic show, which includes a lecture at 2:30 p.m. Saturday led by photographer and author Paul Koudounaris about great cats throughout history.

Cat Art Show L.A. 2: The Sequel” opens at 8 p.m. Thursday and runs Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at Think Tank Gallery. www.thinktankgallery.org

Follow me on Twitter: @debvankin   

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