Laughing at Ourselves

Cassandra Tondro cat collage

Hi Friends,

After watching a film about the artist Banksy, my friend Wayne suggested that I inject some humor into my art by stencilling a cat somewhere into each painting. Wayne was thinking of the rats that Banksy often stencilled on walls in Bristol, England, where he was born. The rat became a symbol associated with Banksy’s art, and in the same way, stencilled cats could become my signature look.

At first I thought it was a silly idea, but then it occured to me that it could be kind of funny! And I do like cats, so off I go, running with the stencilled cat idea.

Several days later, it occured to me that I was doing it again, and I had to laugh at myself. I was chasing the latest shiny object without checking in to see if it’s a direction in which I really want to go.

It’s so easy to go off on a tangent that can take me way, way off course. Fortunately I caught this one early, before I invested a lot of time in making cat paintings. But there have been other times when I haven’t been as aware and spent years on an idea that turned out to be a dead end.

Besides, I’m already humorous sometimes, aren’t I? How can you not laugh at the “Purple Pool Party” collage?

Cassandra Tondro collage art

“Purple Pool Party,” 14 x 11 inches, collage and tulle on wood panel

And what about my Zoom collage? I think it’s funny!

Cassandra Tondro collage art

“The New Normal,” 16 x 20 inches, collage and enamel on canvas panel

These two pieces show my sense of humor, not someone else’s humor that I’m trying on for size. That’s the key here — in order for it to work, it has to be authentic to me. Outside influences are OK, but they have to be in alignment with my direction and what I want to convey.

Truth be told, I don’t always feel humorous. So YAY for the Banksy’s of the world who can keep us laughing, but that’s not my job!

Do you ever find yourself chasing after the latest shiny object? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Sounds familiar. I enthusiastically chase the new idea, or style, then learn that it isn’t a satisfying goal. However, learning a new process, or changing focus, offers new perspectives on oneself and one’s visual expressions.

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