Cat Cabajar, the Painted Cat to her friends and customers, is holding her “grand reopening” tonight (Friday, October 6) as part of Sarnia downtown’s First Friday cultural walkabout, but it’s mostly a “full circle” experience as the full-time artist returns to her original studio location at 188 Front St. North, sharing space with Impulse Studio.
It’s been quite a journey for Cabajar (pronounced CAB-a-HAR), who has been an artist for most of her life.
Yes, she’s done what she calls the “real jobs” but none of them appealed to her as much as what she does right now.
Cajajar’s journey includes working on the public relations committee at the 2004 Artwalk, where she got the bug that became the Painted Cat.
Along the way, she worked in graphic design, working for the Organization for Literacy in Lambton at the organization’s Clear Design office and she had her own freelance design business, which she called Cat Scratch Design.
Cabajar quickly discovered that face painting was the most lucrative part of the business. And she was good at it. Very good.
That lead to a rebranding for Cabajar.
“I’d go to events and I’d be all painted up and people warmed up to it. They’d say ‘there’s the Painted Cat’ and it stuck,” she said.
Today, Cabajar works with non-profits and does various parties, including a relatively new area she calls “paint parties” where people get introduced to art, “getting out of their comfort zones.”
They get a chance to embrace creativity in a non-threatening environment, learning to paint with acrylic.
“I’m with them every step of the way,” she says. “We have people of every age, and we hold the parties in bars, restaurants or in homes or in the studio. It’s about how to make painting fun.”
For First Friday, Cabajar expects to take over the entire space at Impulse Studio.
Editor’s note: Look for an upcoming podcast interview with Cat Cabajar.