As staples within the households of most 20-somethings, cats and plants have been joined together in a new way, filling 152 pages of artist Stephen Eichhorn's new photo book. Published and distributed by independent publishing house Zioxla, Cats & Plants is filled to the brim with unusual collages of felines and floras that Eichhorn has pieced together in his studio over the years.
Although Cats & Plants marks Eichhorn's first foray into making art books, he has been toying with these particular collages for almost a decade. "Around 2008 or 2009, while searching for source material for other collages, I would occasionally come across cat books," the artist tells Creators. "I had a growing collection of houseplant books, and I noticed that the cats had been photographed in similar ways to the plants. There was a quirkiness and humor to the still life compositions of the houseplants that the cat photos shared, like the cat and plants were both domestic objects."
Eichhorn's collages are effortlessly hypnotizing and strangely illogical. In one particularly vibrant collage, an array of cacti implode from the middle of a Siamese cat's face. Another collage shows a furry gray cat adorned with white flower eyebrows, perhaps the feline iteration of the Coachella floral headband. Things shift from cute to mildly menacing in an image of a carnivorous plan, inside of which two beady, yellow cat eyes remain vigilant, ready to pounce upon any unsuspecting rodent entrees-to-be.
Eichhorn adhered to a set of rules while making this project. He says, "I have some studio rules about not using Life or National Geographic as source material. There is such ubiquity to the photography in these publications, which makes it an easy go-to for collage," Eichhorn explains. "I also only use found material, and don't scan or mediate the source material."
While adding to his ever-growing archive of cat-plant collages, Eichhorn eventually found an opportunity to transform his casual project into a captivating photobook. "When I started talking to the founder of Zioxla, about doing a monograph and sharing some of my portfolio, our conversations kept coming back to the cat work," he adds. "I'd made hundreds of these collages and a book felt like the right format to share them en masse."