—CAT-CENTRIC UNIVERSE —
Living in a city such as Jakarta can create a feeling of disorientation and a loss of the natural environment. The Balletcats, a graphics-based business, provides light-hearted perspectives to our modern lives by featuring illustrations of personified domestic cats, complete with their quirky characteristics. Co-owner Jordan Marzuki lets us into the off-to-center world of The Balletcats.
Who is behind The Balletcats?
Fatriana Zukhra, my partner, takes care of the business, and I am the creative director. That’s it. We’re probably too stingy to hire someone.
What made you create The Balletcats?
What was the idea behind the name? It started in college — Fatriana and I experimented to print random illustrations on clothing and sold them for fun. We received positive feedback, which was unexpected. From there, we decided to pursue the business more seriously. I chose the name “The Balletcats” based on my observation of my cat; he has this unusual ballet pose whenever he is asleep.
While some urban dwellers grow accustomed to living amidst concrete structures, others bring in little creature comforts to take their imagination through a whimsical journey.
Why focus on cats and giving them personification (giving human characteristics)?
I’ve always loved cats. I think they are cool and mysterious animals. If cats were human, they would probably be the most confusing person you’d ever meet. On top of their characteristics, they have beautiful physical features and shapes that could be represented in unlimited possibilities.
Where do you get your sense of dark humor?
It’s really hard to specify what it is, but it began when I was young. I remember being asked to draw
a natural landscape once, but I drew a war scene instead. This “dark” side hasn’t gone away since.
Why did you decide to create a fashion line?
I avoid labeling The Balletcats as a fashion brand. I created it because I wanted to, regardless of current trends or expectations. What matters is consistency in quality.
Who is Jordan?
I am a graphic designer; I majored in typography in college.
When did you become interested in illustration?
It was a habit – I’ve always drawn since I was little. Back in school, I was once kicked out because I was sketching.
How and when did you know that your illustrations are likeable enough to be sold?
A decade ago, I participated in design competitions held by threadless.com. I won several times and became confident enough to start my independent product line.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in areas unrelated to my field of expertise. Some movie directors are especially influential for me: Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino. They each have distinctive storytelling methods and styles, and are very consistent with their “trademarks.” This has inspired me with my work process from beginning to end, whether it’s design-related or not.
What other activities do you do to support your love and give ideas for illustration?
I enjoy watching films, and sometimes I create short films for pleasure. I also like to collect books of different subject matters; I tend to visit bookstores a few times a week to relax.