Meet the Artist – Fun art is fine art too

Some artists try to shock you with their art, while others aim to impart a sense of tranquillity. Rowan Marques of Cat House Fun Art wants you to laugh when you look at her art. Yes, laugh right out loud at her cool cats, dynamic doggies, bold birdies and funky flowers! Her motto is ‘Fun art is fine art too!’

Originally from the US, and after having lived in Mexico, Brazil, Italy and France, Rowan has now settled in Vale da Telha and paints from her in-home studio under the gimlet supervision of her furry muses. Working primarily in acrylics and mixed media, she loves using bold colours and texture in her art. She paints a bit of everything but specialises in fun animal art and pet ‘paw-traits’ with an eclectic style ranging from realistic to abstract.

Art, in Rowan’s view, is an ever-evolving activity as essential to her as breathing. She strives to keep a beginner’s mindset by experimenting with new mediums and techniques and studying art history. She states, “Art is completely essential to my wellbeing; it signifies renewal, growth, knowledge, and relaxation of mind and spirit. In our chaotic world, art is often an inner need that is revealed by an outer catalyst. After careers in education and advertising, I was at a loose end a number of years ago without even being conscious of it. An artist friend invited me to visit, sat me down and insisted that I paint with her. I will be forever grateful. It was love at first brushstroke and it opened up a whole new world for me.” 

Teaching students of all ages also keeps her mentally fresh and artistically challenged. “I teach, but I also learn so much from my students too. It is an amazing artistic give and take.”

Inspiration is plentiful and comes from everywhere imaginable: daily life, reading about art and famous historical figures, people watching, nature, travel, and, of course, the antics of her fabulous feline top models and those of her friends. Rowan also greatly admires Gustav Klimt, the Viennese Art Nouveau Master, for his symbolism and geometric detail and has created her own funky feline versions of some of his famed artworks, such as Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (aka The Woman In Gold – one of her favourite paintings) and The Kiss. The artwork of Louis Wain, a Victorian-era artist specialising in anthropomorphic cats, inspired her to begin painting fun art and this influence is evident in her paintings of globetrotting kitties playing at being rock stars and racing car drivers, dogs enjoying a good laugh, and flirtatious cows and pigs.

Does Rowan have any advice for an aspiring artist? Yes, indeed! “First and foremost, paint for yourself and for your own personal joy and development. Believe in yourself always, never stop learning and above all else, HAVE FUN!”

Rowan is an ardent supporter of animal shelters in Portugal and worldwide. For every sale of one of her paintings, she makes a donation. She frequently offers her artwork to animal charity fundraisers.

Rowan accepts commissions and you can see her available work on her website. 

Facebook: Cat House Fun Art

Instagram: rowanmarques


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