I absolutely adore my cat Yoshi and think he’s amazing. Of course, I’m not alone in my devotion, we all love our pets and consider them uniquely wonderful. Our pets love us unconditionally, are there for our emotional well-being, and yet, ask for so little in return. The least we can do is treat them right, love them back, and secretly think that they’re better than everyone else’s cats, dogs, birds, fish, and/or iguanas.
However, there’s something that sets Yoshi apart from other pets. You may think I’ve ingested one too many edibles, but I believe that Yoshi could be the anonymous guerilla- street-artist, Banksy.
Yes, the same Banksy of the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop and the one whose identity is a well-guarded mystery.
What if Banksy were a cat, especially a long-haired grey and white cat with distinctive markings? No one would ever suspect that the satirical street-artist and my fur-baby were one in the same. I mean, it would be the greatest art con of the decades—it’s unbelievable genius.
Think it’s too far-fetched? Well, here’s some evidence to back up my theory.
No one has ever seen Banksy and Yoshi in the same room together. Admittedly Banksy seems to do most of his/her art in their native England or New York, and Yoshi has lived in Southern California since he was a kitten. However, Yoshi might have worked out a system where he conceptualizes his installations and has other people carry out the actual physical work of putting up their latest piece of art. I would like to point out that Banksy had a very popular exhibition, Barely Legal in Los Angeles which—traffic permitting—is only a few miles from here.
Coincidence? I think not.
Yoshi lets us believe that his only focus is on getting his breakfast, dinner, and having some power naps, but what if instead of sleeping, he’s conceptualizing?
Can you say fiendishly clever?
Banksy is known for embracing various types of art forms and expressions such as his satirical street art, sculpture, and stenciling techniques. Yoshi also doesn’t just stick to painting—he does performance art, found art, and works with textiles.
Yoshi would be a street artist if he had a cat-door and was allowed to go outside. I’ve never seen Yoshi employ any of the number of techniques that Banksy is famous for but that’s not to say he can’t do it—he’s just secretive about his process.
Both of the artists’ work is unexpected and surprising. Often times, a Banksy piece will go up without warning—one morning a wall is blank and then overnight it becomes the backdrop of a stunning piece of artwork.
Yoshi too, surprises with his artwork and the platforms he uses. One day I walked into the bathroom and was surprised by an unexpected art-installation. There was white wherever I looked. Inspiration had struck, and Yoshi had shredded the toilet paper into tiny pieces that littered the floor in a delicate snow. I noticed long pieces of the paper de toilet draped from the toilet, over the sink and ending up at the doorway. How had he done that—he rarely stands on two-feet and he doesn’t have opposable thumbs? Were the semi-irregular folds in the paper meant to show how the artist goes inward or was it a metaphor of the futility of life?
For the readers who are art-historians, the technique he used to shred the toilet paper is one that he created himself and is now known as the Art Blanc Charmin Process.
Artists who have influenced Banksy are Blek le Rat and Ernest Pignon-Ernest. The artist who has had the greatest impact on Yoshi, is Andy Warhol and specifically his film Sleep. The film shows a man sleeping and clocks in at five hours and 20 minutes. Yoshi tries to top that length of sleep-time daily for as an artist, Yoshi must constantly challenge himself in order to grow.
While he’s never said it to me directly (or maybe he has, I don’t understand the language of meow,) Yoshi doesn’t believe that artists should have limits and often his work is extremely avant-garde. He has been known to use whatever is handy as his materials. One of his pieces, Skid marks on a hardwood floor, he created by not cleaning himself well after using the litter box, scooting his butt directly on the floor, and leaving a thin brown trail on the floor after him. By cleaning this skid mark, I became an active participant in this art happening so reminiscent of the ones of the 1960s.
Since Yoshi doesn’t like to limit himself to visual arts, he will occasionally create astonishing performance art pieces such as “Don’t lock me out of the bedroom or I will yowl all night” or “Yes, you just cleaned the litter box, but it’s only now that I find it acceptable to use.”
As long as Banksy remains incognito, I won’t know if my suspicions are correct about the two of them. Although, Yoshi isn’t the darling of the artworld, for me he’s everything. I’m always the happiest when the two of us get to hang out and chill—something he’s even better at than art.
....Now, I’d like to tell you about my cat Josie, and her psychic abilities.