Curney Nuffer: The Cats Meow


An accomplished portrait painter by vocation, Curney Nuffer has recently switched gears to a more furry subject matter. Inspired by his “spoiled rotten” cat Sophie, Curney formulated this recent series as a fundraiser for the SPCA. The cat portraits are all based on a pun because, as Curney says, “I’ve got this thing where I like to make puns out of everything.”

For Curney, the creative process begins with a cat-related pun then he formulates a concept. The paintings are born from his imagination and the composition is original. “I would think of something like catatonicwhat would that look like? Well, maybe a cat with a drinking problem and pinwheel eyes.” Catatonic was Curney’s first painting from his series The Cats Meow, and the puns grew from there. Of the first 9 paintings, all sold but one – they were such a success that Curney had to paint more.

Curney’s latest collection has 8 paintings, with more in the works. Catastrophe at Waterloo is an allegorical painting of Napoleon’s catastrophe at Waterloo. “So much of history is captured in art, but so much of it can be made fun of too” says fellow artist Susan Dull. As for his painting, Meow/Scream, Curney jokes thatI did this painting and then another famous painting was created after it.” For Curney, the cat paintings are a fun diversion from subject matter like portraits.

Curney spends his time between teaching painting classes in Richmond and personal painting. With the help of his students, Curney is actively brainstorming new puns for future paintings. “It’s such a good contrast to how people used to perceive him, as a serious portrait painter. It’s a very different side of Curney” says Susan.

Curney will be donating 25% of all proceeds from The Cats Meow series to the Richmond SPCA. Curney hopes his paintings will inspire and remind to “never forget to do something to laugh at yourself... oh, and don’t forget to paint the whiskers.”