Alana McCarthy is the talent behind Geeky Pet. Her art features pets, mostly cats, in an alternative universe where they are the heroes and heroines of their own TV shows, movies and comic books. She has a shop on Etsy where you can purchase her prints. You can also commission Alana to paint your own animal companion as the character they were meant to be.
Riley: Hi Alana. I am a big fan of your art. Thank you for talking to me today!
Of all the subjects to use in your art, you chose geeky pets. How did you end up in that niche?
Alana: I used to sell my illustrations at comic conventions. One of the hot sellers was a Christmas card of my two cats dressed up in costumes. Then I had a friend ask for a sketch of a cat dressed as Green Lantern for his themed sketchbook. Everything clicked into place and Geeky Pet was born!
Riley: Your art features cats from both the feline universes of Star Wars and Star Trek. Which is your favorite and why?
Alana: I’m definitely a Star Wars girl. I grew up with the movies and love the characters. I loved the new movie and I’m currently finishing up a piece of Rey and BB-8, who I’ve modeled after my derpy cat Pumpkin. I’ve never been much of a Trekkie but I know other people definitely are, so I take tips from my friends who are obsessed with the shows. I’m loving what J.J. Abrams did with the new movies though. They’re a great gateway to get new fans into Star Trek.
Riley: Your commissioned paintings are wonderful! Do your customers supply the inspiration or do they just send you a photo of their pet and you take it from there?
Alana: Thanks so much! The customers definitely come to me with an idea in mind. Sometimes they feel that their pet acts like a certain character, or a few are actually named after a character and they want that shown in a painting. I’ve had an Arya the Cat, Yukon the Husky, named after Yukon Cornelius and a couple Loki dogs. Others just have a favorite show or movie and want to invest in a piece that will make them happy when they see it hanging in their home.
Riley: As soon as I saw Doctor Who Cat, I felt a connection. My framed print is pictured here. Outside of art, what else do you connect with?
Alana: I feel the biggest connections with art, especially when I browse around Instagram and see what other artists are up to. I’m also fascinated with stop motion animation. I always get so inspired after seeing something like Nightmare Before Christmas or other such movies. Outside of art, I guess summer and nature and the outdoors. I’ve got a passion for being outside biking and camping. Makes it really hard to stay in and paint during those lovely warm days that we get too few of here in Toronto.
Riley: Tell me about the books you like to read. What are your favorite genres or authors or titles?
Alana: I’ll read anything you put in front of me. Unfortunately with two young kids, a full time job and Geeky Pet I haven’t had much time to just sit and read. When I did I always loved a good fiction book. One of my favorites was Not Wanted on the Voyage by Canadian author Timothy Findley. I’ve re-read it several times. The Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock is also a favorite. It’s a completely unique correspondence between two people, where you physically open letters to advance the story. The illustration within it is also so varied and beautiful. Its all very inspiring, along with being a fascinating fictional story. Graphic novels are great too. Some of my favorite series are Preacher, Fables, Sandman and Stray Bullets.
All this talk is really making me miss reading! Maybe this is a sign I need to start carving out some time for it.
Riley: Do you have any new projects you are working on that you would like to tell us about?
Alana: I’ve been collaborating with my husband with an idea for a children’s book. He’s much better with coming up with cool writing ideas, so I thought it might be fun to put both our strengths together. It’ll definitely be about animals and feature a cat or two. We’re hoping to have something ready to pitch sometime soon.
Want to see more of Geeky Pets?
Find Alana on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GeekyPet
And she is on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/GeekyPet/?fref=ts
And Instagram: instagram@geekypet