24 August 2008

- Chip, a lot of things go through a viewers mind when first

encountering the Fester Gallery, its one of those indelible experiences

- I hear that a lot Terri, its like the Challenger or the Kennedy thing

- Right, there's definitely a "where were you when" factor at work here,

but what surprised me most was the gallery statement that prior to

undertaking and completing this work last week, you had never done

cat photography, that's almost unbelievable

- You are right Terri - I had by some fluke won the

1996 European Medieval Architecture Cat Photographer of the Year Award,

but that was just dumb luck, a grab shot I took on vacation....

- What were you shooting with then, Chip

- Well that was a 35 Nikon AF432 Auto-Focus Aperture Priority18-240 Telephoto Zoom

loaded with drugstore Fuji 200, I believe

- You didn't have a motor-drive?

- Terri you have to remember, this was just a lark on vacation, I really wasn't

out to capture "the" moment, it was more like an "I was there" type thing for later

- And winning European Medieval Architecture Cat Photographer of the Year Award

didn't tempt you to concentrate more fully on Cat subjects?

- Terri, I guess this is what we call Hubris; I thought I could do anything

- How much was the prize

- I think it was about 8500 Euros

- You could do a lot with 8500 Euros

- No, the Euro was about even with the Dollar back then

- Still

- I took the opportunity to do a lot of nothing, cannabis smoking,

coffeeshop composition notebook writing

- So you returned to your usual short page breaks the line practice

- Yeah, breath, voice and limited attention span poetic

- Nowhere fast

- I got sequestered. You can't accept any accolades, Terri,

not in my position.

- Looking at your discovery of the Iguana inside the inverted Converse

Sneaker which everybody is doing now, it seems you have a lot of experience

being either slightly before or slightly ahead of your time and I wonder

now that you've had success and some time since last Wednesday to reflect

on it, were there times that alienated

{rising inflection last word accents question-mark}


- I was hoping you'd end some sentences that way Terri, it - I can't tell you

what speech like that coming out of a mouth like yours - you are blushing!

- One of the things that I think has accounted for the sudden popular embrace

of this work is this notion of the Egregious Aesthetic Error,

and could you talk a little bit about that and your relationship with Fester,

an apparently semi-autistic feral stray that came with your backyard apartment

in New Orleans after the devastation of Katrina?

- Yeah I can talk a little bit about that Terri, but it is the devastation of

the Army Corps of Jack Officers Levees Broke New Orleans

- Do you think the people of New Orleans who have so overwhelmingly

taken to these pictures - we see Fester on bumperstickers, in French Quarter Poster

shops, buttons, t-shirts and hat visors - {rising inflection again}

Identify with Fester? I mean...

- Fester has had a hard time Terri, and people can see that, this is not a fat cat

and that "paunch" of his could disappear in the course of three missed meals -

Fester is a survivor who's been through the same things every other and mostly

poor black New Orleanian has been through...

- Can I ask you is Fester a boy or a girl?

Pleased Stay Tuned or Part Two of Chips Interview with Terri

- I think Fester is a Male, Terri

- You don't know?

- I don't know, no

- Are you and Fester Close?

- Fester relies on me Terri, and expects to be both fed and watered twice a day.

- Chip I meant do you and Fester have a physical relationship

- Fester lets me get within about one Kareem Abdul Jabbar of him

- A Kareem?

- Seven Foot 4 inches

- So do you try to get within a Spud Webb or Mugsy Bouges of Fester?

- Terri I have tried a lot, kitty snacks, tuna fish candies, cat-nip,

tsk tsk tsking sounds, cooing his name, and he just won't have any of it

- Even with Food in your hand?

- Well then its turned around, its him coming toward me

- So he'll come closer

- For the food, yeah

- Does it hurt your feelings Fester needs so much "Space"

- Terri I go back and forth. Sometimes I'll come home and he's napping

just inside my door and I think Jeepers. Then he gets up and runs

- Chip its not your fault and there are a lot of stories about Ferels

- Terri, I thought you were a little more accepting than that -

Ferel is not a lifestyle decision.

- Do you think having a woman around might domesticate Fester

- Maybe its time you talked to Todd Rungdren

- (nervous) Laughter?

- Or Mumia Abdul Jamal


Christopher Smart: For I will Consider My Cat Jeoffry

AFTER THE WORKSHOP, (I was unanimously urged to "really push it")

oh and pay attention to my edges

and watch out for vignetting - unless of course this was my intention,

and line - even if it is "just" recreational use of photoshop for

folk art expression - this is what my "I Heart Fester' is called

it is incumbent on me to use the Help menu to improve my lines -

"these hearts could be a lot more pleasing to us all"


Sometimes I wish I had never signed up

for Taking It To Another Level

But you know what?

I like the challenge.

I can do better.

I am going to make cat photography history.


from ubu