Sam Kalda

Photo by Daniel Seung Lee

I first became aware of Sam Kalda when attending FIT’s class of 2014 Visual Thesis Exhibition. While I enjoyed many of the artists’ work, his was by far my favorite.

I was immediately taken not only by his subject matter – men and cats –but his general aesthetic.  Hiss ability to evoke moods and moments telegraphically through his use of color and a stylized, minimalist technique.

NOTE: I do not claim to be an art writer or critic so I can only hope my perceptions and descriptions doesn’t sound wildly absurd to someone who knows better! (it’s sort of how I order wine, I can describe what I like, but it doesn’t mean I know what to order).

FIT Art Thesis Men and Cats All I knew was I had to meet this Sam fellow, who I could only assume was a cat man himself.  When I contacted him he was kind enough to meet me for coffee, and sure enough, it turns out Sam’s a self-proclaimed “cat man”!

He’d always wanted a cat growing up and started, “bugging [his parents] for one starting at 6 years of age,” though sadly, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

sam kalda's cat sisterWell finally this illustrator from South Dakota now living in Brooklyn has actualized his dream of having a cat – or a cat having him, as I’m often reminded. He shares his home (and Instagram feed) with a fluffy nine-year old black and white cat by the name of  “Sister” who, from the looks of it on Instagram at least, seems very fond of the bed. I never did get to the bottom of her curious name..doh!

Sam says, “the cutest and most unusual” thing about her is that, “she pees over the drain in the tub…it’s bizarre to walk in on her!” I can only imagine! Not very ladylike Sister!

Thankfully we have no evidence of this behavior on Instagram (better left to the imagination!)!  He wonders if it’s some sort or residual impact of having been born in a boiler room? Poor dear!

Photo from Meow Quarterly

Photo from MeowQuarterly

Many of the artists Sam listed in the FIT program as those he most admires are cat men themselves – Henri Mattisse, Edward Hopper and Saul Steinberg to name a few.

Interestingly, when we spoke, Sam added “PeeWees Playhouse” to his lists of influences. As he describes it, “there’s a bold, friendly zaniness to the show that I aspire to.” A fair description I’d say. He’s a bigger man than me as I can’t get past the whole Paul Reubens debacle (or perhaps he’s just so much younger than me he doesn’t recall it first hand!).

Sam Kalda Men and Cats Sam’s favorite piece from the collection he showed at FIT was of Saul Steinberg (the first illustration in this post to the right of the series title), as it represents his sense of humor – wearing a cat mask, which is something he apparently did in real life!

When I asked him how people reacted upon seeing his work he said it was very positive and he’d like to expand on the collection to include other famous cat men the likes of Freddie Mercury and Jackson Galaxy. While he sells some of his work in print form on his site, he’d like to see his series as a book. it’s certainly one I think many of us would want to own wouldn’t you?

sam kalda recent cat artworkWhen I connected with him recently he said, “I’m still working on the cat series, but have taken a little break to pursue other projects. But cats always seem to find their way into my work.” Seems to be true from a few of the newer pieces I found on Sam’s website (above).

I urge you to take a look at all of his work as even the non-cat pieces are wonderful. Mark my words, I see great things in this young cat man’s future! Sam’s work can be seen and purchased on his website, and you can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Sam Kalda's cat sister

By the looks of it, Sister serves as Sam’s CPA (from bed), and hold on a minute! Is she GUIDING his hand?!  Could it be Sister is the talent behind the cat man?! (source @sam_kalda Instagram)


Special thanks to Daniel Seung Lee, the photographer of Sam’s portrait and MeowQuarterly for use of the fabulous photo of Sam holding Sister.

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  • pilch92 .

    Thanks for this post, I love the Mark Twain one.

    • jmuhj

      Wow, me too! I wish I’d said that first!

      • that quote? or that you loved that pic? LOL

    • I adore that quote! Love the Saul Steinberg pic! What an interesting fellow – had never heard of him before!

  • This is the first time I’m hearing of Sam Kalda and I’m loving his artwork! Thanks for this post introducing this awesome “cat artist”.

    • You are QUITE welcome, he’s a super young and super talented man with CLEARLY a bright future ahead of him!

  • naturegirly

    Great article and I thoroughly enjoy Sam’s beautiful works. Yes, the cat theme speaks to me. Thanks for another CatMan Monday! 😉

    • THANK YOU!!!!! You are so wonderful to read and comment…I can’t barely keep up with my own stuff I don’t read anything anymore :….( you rock! =^^=

  • jmuhj

    Sister is GORGEOUS! (and very talented, too, I think 😉 ) and these are truly great works of art. I would be honored to have them in our home. Wonderful! (Btw, I’d love to see features featuing cat geeks. Geeks who LOVE cats, geeks who ARE cats. IDK.)

    • I know right! LOL! I agree I just love his work! Cat Geeks – LOLOL! Hmmm I have to think on that! LOL! Aren’t we all really cat geeks? CAT NERDS???!

  • Noodle Cat

    What a great article…thanks for sharing
    Noodle and crew

  • Noodle Cat

    Great article!
    Noodle and crew

    • yay! you rock thanks for reading and taking the time to comment – did you see I posted my feet even though I hate feet! LOLOLO for Tom’s shoes!

  • denisebreslin

    Oh you are so talented … I laughed my way through every word of this so well written, charming profile. Loved it all, art, photos and especially your writiing. Thank you for making me guffaw at 1AM. I have two cats who own me and best get back to ma duties if ya know what I mean!!!! Coming oh great employers …..oh oh Boss Cat Timmy has his wiley feline eyes on me …. huff puff …

  • denisebreslin

    Question: Do you do art as well, kind of confused if any of this was yours. Duh