[Images by Victoria Garcia]
Hello Kitty could possibly be the world’s most famous felin; her face has been placed on everything imaginable from clothes and makeup to furniture and key chains. Now with a new gallery show, her iconic look is decorating the canvases of artists who are inspired by Sanrio’s most celebrated creation.
The show entitled “Hello Kitty, Hello Art!” features works from over 40 artists, who provide their own unique view and interpretation of the iconic cat along with other Sanrio characters through paintings, drawings and sculpture. These works featured Hello Kitty playing a variety of roles as a masked super heroine, an 18th century Victorian lady, a jellyfish, and a robot.
The styles ranged from graffiti, to pop art, to realistic depictions of the main attraction. One piece by fashion designer Betsey Johnson showed Hello Kitty in a red tutu dress and heels with crimson lipstick lips and a tiara. The internationally celebrated graffiti artist DABS MYLA created a custom mural to decorate one of the gallery walls with Hello Kitty in a city setting. The broad spectrum of works on display is a testament to how something as iconic as Hello Kitty can be reimagined in new ways to reflect each artist’s sensibilities of what this emotionally ambiguous cat means to them.
Throughout the gallery there were employees who were donning the signature Hello Kitty bow on their heads and taking photos for viewers who wanted a picture with some of the attractions including a Harajuku Japanese girl and another character in a Hello Kitty costume. Located in the back of the gallery is a holiday pop up shop where visitors could get their copy of the art book “Hello Kitty, Hello Art!” signed by one of the artists while perusing through the assortment of gift items that offered prints, T-shirts and jewelry. This three day exhibition of a Hello Kitty wonderland is a memorable celebration of the way Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters have influenced the work and lives of the featured artists and how something as simple as a cat with a bow can become such a staple in the global pop culture.
Hello Kitty, Hello Art! is on display from December 14-16th located at Openhouse Gallery,379 Broome Street (between Mott & Mulberry Streets, New York, NY, 10012.