If these vibrant and adventurous space kitties look familiar, you’re not hallucinating. Jen Bartel‘s Galactic Cats are a fan favorite; you may have seen them make their way around the internet for a few years now, and we couldn’t be more excited that they’ve chosen to stop off at Bombsheller during their intergalactic tour.
Bartel’s talents go well beyond adorable psychedelic felines. She’s a comic artist and illustrator who has worked with a number of large comics publishers (Marvel, Dark Horse, Boom!… just to name a few) and is best known for her current cover work for Jem and the Holograms. The majority of her work, both in comics and her personal art, has a heavy emphasis on powerful women. Among witchy and punk rock renditions of favorite female characters, girl gangs, and mermaids who won’t take anyone’s shit, the Galactic Cats seem like a bit of a departure from her usual subjects. Really, they are a reflection of her work as a whole; beautiful and unapologetically pastel, with fangs that could rip you to shreds.
We’re obviously pretty big fans of her work, so we couldn’t help but ask her a few questions to get to know her a little better:
Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the Galactic Cats design?
Who doesn’t love space and cats?! I had been working on a bunch of animal drawings and thought it would be cool to marry the two—celestial felines!
Are any of the cats based on real cats in your life and/or do any of the cats have names?
None of them are based on cats I personally know, but they’re all real breeds! There’s a Turkish Angora, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Russian Blue, American Curl, Devon Rex, Sphynx, Persian, and a Bombay!
Of the Galactic Cats, do you have a favorite?
My favorite is probably the Bombay (the angry hissing one) but I also like the Devon Rex (the most multicolored of the bunch)
Your illustrations always feature incredible outfits – have you done any fashion design in the past or is there any interest in it? Where do you get the inspiration for the wardrobes in your art?
Thank you! I haven’t formally studied fashion design, but I’ve definitely always had an interest in it. I always browse the ready to wear runways for inspiration and I tend to save a ton of photos of Asian street fashion, as I feel like Asia is always a couple of years ahead of the US in fashion + beauty trends.
Who would you enlist in your ultimate girl gang (fictional or real, alive or dead)?
Oh gosh, I’ve always wanted to see Storm and Wonder Woman team up, so definitely those two, but what kind of a girl gang would it be without Sailor Moon? Also, Beyonce. This Girl Gang would be super weird but unbelievably badass.
Go check out Jen’s website for more art, and follow her on social media to see what she’s working on next: