Mention surrealism and the haunting images of Salvador Dali come to mind. Surrealism, characterized by strange visuals and illogical scenes, was started in the early 1920s as a cultural movement. Although there have been many proponents of surrealism, the modern-day upholder of this movement is none other than the 69-year- old Richard Saunders.
According to Saunders, his lifelong obsession has been to harness surrealist elements and pin them onto canvas, board or paper and also as glowing surreal pixels. A look at his surreal paintings, drawings, and photomontages lend credence to this belief.
In his exploration of surrealism, he has not only confined himself to unusual settings in his works but has also included a real-life subject, his pet Russian Blue cat named Tolly that unfortunately died in February 2016. His project on Tolly, titled the Topiary Cat, has taken the world by storm through the social media.
The idea of Topiary Cat originated in Richard’s mind when he saw an uncanny resemblance between an ornamental shrub in the English countryside and his sleeping pet cat. Taking that as a start point, he transformed these actual bushes in real locations into images of his cat in various moods and poses.
These surreal creations will certainly fox you into thinking that they actually exist in those places. However, these high-quality fantastical images of the cat have been superimposed on the bushes in photographs taken in actual locations. A case in point is his first image, in which he blended a picture of his pet into a topiary shaped like a cloud in a previously taken photograph at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield.
However, what really created the storm on Facebook was his later image that had his pet cat drinking water from a lake at Painshill, Surrey. This was seen by 3.25 million people on the Facebook. Such are his endearing images that you are simply left awestruck marveling at the creative mind of this exceptional surrealist artist.
These photographs will certainly lead you to believe that you are actually seeing a gigantic, perfectly manicured cat carved out of lush green bushes while walking through the English country garden. However, Saunders admits that he had never planned for this storm on the social media or wanted to make any money out of his pictures.
He even made known that the topiary cats dotting the country estates were not real, but such was the realism infused in each photograph that people still believed them to be true.
Seeing these surreal pictures, one really wishes that they were real and actually existed on the ground. The day is not far when someone may try and replicate them on the ground. Till then, people will continue to marvel at these surreal creations.
Richard Saunders Surrealist: