A Photo Finish!!!

AND WE ARE FINALLY DONE!!!! (And of course by “we” I mean, me, myself, and I….O_O)

This project has been a very interesting experience for me. I did a subject matter that was pretty foreign to me (I do not own a cat/interact with cats very often, though I do have two cats that like to wander in my backyard….), it was my first commissioned project of my career, and my first time using a big-scale block of shina plywood. The project itself was also a test of creativity. Ajax, the cat, was a beloved family member of a family friend and I wanted to make sure I captured his essence in the piece.

I research the origin of Ajax the Hero to begin with. He was a descendent of Zeus and cousin of Achilles, known for his courage, strength and intelligence. I wanted to convey that intelligence and playfulness in the cat’s expression and face. This was one of the hardest things for me since I don’t particularly do portraiture/people as subjects…but in the end I think it came out alright 🙂
For the background and borders I went with geometric shapes like the window Ajax was photographed against, plus a Grecian border to pay homage to his names roots. The flowers behind him also pay respect to his name and origin. It is said that the gladiolus flower blossomed from the blood Ajax the Hero spilled at his death. It is also the flower that represents remembrance, calm, integrity and infatuation (frans-flowers.com) which is appropriate since the subject of my project had to be put to rest last month due to complications and old age. I am very sorry for Ajax’s family loss and I wish I got to meet him before the end.

But throughout this process, with every layer I printed and every update I gave my clients, I felt closer to Ajax in a way. I could almost sense his playful nature, his curiosity and even a hint of mischievous energy. I hope I got to convey all of that in my final print. I started this project for Ajax and his family but in the end, I think I got something from this too. I fell in love with this playful spirit of Ajax and felt privileged to be the one to immortalize him. I also learned that when one puts their heart and mind to finishing something for someone else, the end product means a whole lot more than if you do something just for yourself. When I think about it, when I finish my Geisha prints I feel great and love my prints, don’t get me wrong, but for this one….it was very special. Being able to help someone cope with a loss, in any small way that I can, means a lot to me. Thank you for letting me create a portrait of Ajax.



The woodblock: The "Key" layer

The woodblock: The “Key” layer

Before the black

Before the black

After the black

After the black



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