I don't remember exactly when I first came across the fabulous Kate Funk, but what I do know is that I was immediately smitten with her furbulous black cat, AC, whose image graces numerous greeting cards and an annual calendar in her Etsy shop.
Kate lives in Milwaukee, Wis., where she photographs her famous cat, who writes his own blog in between modeling gigs. I recently talked to her about AC's latest venture, the 2012 edition of his Super Amazing 100% Awesome Cat Calendar, and found out a little more about this cool cat lady and her feline muse!
Read on for more!
AC Rocks Out
Hi Kate! Please tell me about AC. How did he come into your life?
I got AC as a kitten from a no kill shelter here in Milwaukee back in 2006. He had been found abandoned in a box and covered with fleas in someone's garage along with all of his brothers and sisters. I thought was funny when I read your blog post about how black kittens aren't adopted as easily - because it's so true. He was the only black kitten in the litter, and when I initially went in to talk to them about adopting a kitten they told me it usually takes a week or two for the process, but when I picked out AC they dropped him off the next day at my house - just happy that someone would take him.
They don't know his actual date of birth, but we celebrate it on Cinco de Mayo. He's been my #1 buddy ever since, despite everyone thinking he must hate me because I dress him up all of the time.
AC's full name is actually Annoying Customer, based on the movie Clerks. I had to shorten it to AC though, because I had a a customer at a craft show think I was calling her an annoying customer when she asked what his name was and stormed off.
What inspired you to start photographing him?
The first greeting card of him actually started as a joke. I found out early on that he really doesn't seem to mind wearing hats or clothes like other cats do. And I have a friend who would always pick on him for being such a grump - so I took the first photo of him to make into a greeting card for her (it's the AC Happy Birthday card).
I liked it so much that I started giving it out to other friends on their birthdays - one of whom happened to work with me at a paper store here in Milwaukee. Our boss saw it on his desk and asked me if I had anymore because she's love to carry them in the store. I quickly came up with a couple of other designs, started selling them at that store, and eventually worked my way into other stores. I think it's so funny that what started out as a joke became what I do now - and I love it.
How long does it take you to the shoot the calendar?
It usually takes about 8 months - I always try to start in January and tell myself I'll get it done by May, but it never happens that way. I do videography for weddings, too, so once June hits it's harder for me to get anything done. Once I'm done I send the photos to my partner, Brennan Groh, who does the design for it. And then finally it goes to the printers. So it's kind of a long process.
How did you decide on this year's musical theme?
Brennan and I usually take the time while we're sitting at craft fairs to sit and brainstorm what we'll do for the following year. Last year I had done the AC be Ballin' card just for fun and really liked how it turned out - so we decided to continue on that theme with having different musical genres for all of the months. Next year, though, we decided we're going to let AC's fans choose (I'm always getting tons of suggestions from people).
There is going to be info in the upcoming calendar as well as on my blog once the calendar officially comes out about a contest on AC's blog where people can give us their ideas for what they'd like to see for 2013. AC, Brennan, and I will vote on our favorite and the winner will receive a free copy of the calendar once it comes out.
Special thanks to Kate for taking the time to answer my questions! You can pre-order AC's 2012 Super Amazing 100% Awesome Cat Calendar from now through October 12th for just 12 bucks, and Kate also has an awesome selection of AC greeting cards in her Etsy shop for all of your holiday needs, including a new AC is a Mummy card for Halloween!