Art

Cat, deconstructed: Everything to know about Jesse Smigel’s oversized feline

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The artist with his sculpture, inspired by a childhood cat.
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Now that Jesse Smigel’s public sculpture of a 10-foot-tall cat head, titled “Snowball in Vegas,” has been mounted at the corner of First Street and Coolidge Avenue, we thought we’d explain its intricacies.

Happy, laughing eyelids A sign that the cat is feeling a form of ecstasy from the love it is sharing.

Ears or curvilinear design? The similarity between the cat ears and La Concha’s roofline is so striking we should be happy they’re several blocks away from one another. Just don’t paint the bottom of La Concha’s swooping shell configurations a dusty shade of pink and we’ll be fine.

Jesse Smigel Kitten Sculpture

Breed Domestic shorthair with a hint of a ruff around the neck.

Wavering verisimilitude Smigel has a fondness for cartooning objects, inanimate or not. You might recall his giant garden gnomes, displayed in the Arts District’s Boulder Plaza Sculpture Park in May 2012. The temporary installation, also designed as a Downtown photo op, reflects Smigel’s love of lawn ornaments.

Innards One-hundred-percent carved Styrofoam—“The poor man’s marble,” Smigel says—finished with hard coat (Rhino truck liner).

La Douche “Snowball” was conceptualized by the artist to be a public photo op. Stand before the tongue and pose as if the cat is licking your back, head or whatever. At this moment, you are its kin.

Symbolism Commissioned by the City of Las Vegas’ Arts Commission, “Snowball” stands as the inaugural sculpture for the city’s First Street Art Trail, which will someday connect the Arts District to Fremont Street.

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