The Last Cat is a west coast brand and curated online marketplace which connects awesome independent artists to their fans. The project was co-founded by brothers, Luke Martinez and Aaron Martinez, and supports a wide range of artists, creatives, and friends. Maintaining creative freedom and integrity are a key part of their mission. All the original artwork, zines, comics, t-shirts, clothing,prints, and stickers offered are items the owners would describe as things they’d personally want to bring into their homes. The Last Cat is ramping up for their annual art show “Nine Lives”, Friday, September 18, 6pm – 10pm, at RVCA SF, at Haight and Ashbury.
Each Last Cat artist will showcase original artwork, along with art-centered merchandise. In line with their direction toward quality over quantity, items will be set to limited editions, and some items will only available at the opening on Friday. Many of the artists on the roster are well-known artists from the Bay Area, extending down to Los Angeles. Artists include Tim Diet, Albert Reyes, Pacolli, Aaron Martinez, Jonathan Gregg, Aaron Jupin, Deth P. Sun, Mitsy Avila Ovalles, and Justin Hager.
We spoke with Luke Martinez, co-founder and head curator, on his past, present, and future happenings with The Last Cat. Find our interview below.
Artwork by Justin Hager
What is The Last Cat?
The Last Cat is a brand that functions like an art gallery. Highlighting different artists, we create products that reflect their art in different ways. Basically, we find ways for fans to take art home with them, beyond the one art piece on a wall. That means creating affordable, limited edition products that compliment the art and artist, like shirts, patches, hats, or prints, to name a few.
How were the artists selected and was there a common theme for the artwork in this show?
The Last Cat does one big art show a year, and this is this year’s one. We’ve gone to a smaller group show for this one, versus in past years we’ve done huge group shows. This was to focus on these nine artists, and let them stretch out and get creative. The only theme for the artwork is that each artist is doing whatever they want. I didn’t want to give any instructions for the show except for each artist to represent themselves fully. I’m excited to see what everyone does.
I noticed a lot of the artists are from Los Angeles, what is your connection to L.A.?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I have a strong personal connection to [that city]. Even though I’ve been out here for over 10 years, I try to visit LA as much as can. Staying in touch with old artist friends, and making new ones, helps to keep me somewhat current on the LA art scene.
How do you feel that the LA and SF art scenes differ?
Each city seems to have their ‘go-to’ artist list, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The list changes often, so the art scene in these cities continue to change and expand, but they’re always different.
What’s next for The Last Cat?
Making more product, meeting new artists, doing more of the same. When we do a product right, it makes the artists super happy, and it excites the fan. They can’t wait to get their hands on it, that’s the whole point for us. So we want to do more of that.
Artwork by Aaron Martinez
Artwork by Deth P. Sun