For Kit Collins, a year is about 400 dogs long. Such is the life of a “pet ’toonist,” who shares daily canine cartoons on @poochvilleusa and feline illustrations on @catsdelicatessen. The Globe chatted with 25-year-old Collins (@kitschcollins) about valentines, her devotion to drawing four-legged creatures, and the story behind her “Lost + Hound” project.
Q. You work in a bunch of different mediums. How do you do so many things and what do you like about them?
A. I think that my interest in what I’m specializing in, it tends to feel seasonal. About a year ago, I was doing a ton of embroidery. And then I had a season where I felt like I was doing a ton of block printing. Right now, I’m currently working on a big mural project, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I just have to think about ways to do five murals a year. This is what I’m meant to do! I can’t ever do anything but this.” So I know that this is kind of a thing that I do.
Q. I noticed that you really love valentines. What’s that about?
A. Particularly [with] my more illustrative work, I really am in an earnest way trying to replicate and illustrate a feeling of love. I know that none of my work is truly that profound or earth-shaking, but a lot of it comes from a place of deep emotion, like thinking of love for friends and family. I’m trying to put that sense of affection and wholesomeness into my artwork, even if it’s something a little bit casual or flippant. I think that really my highest desire with a lot of the work that I do that’s kind of more in the illustration vein is to allow those types of feelings to be shared and conveyed to people.
Q. In your bio, you call yourself a “pet ’toonist.” How did you come upon that label?
A. It started as just a gift for my dad. I think it was four years ago. He’s a big, big dog person, biggest dog person ever. His name is Hank, and for his birthday I made him a 12-month watercolor dog calendar that I called “Hounds for Hank.” And then because I am a glutton for punishment, [later] I decided to do instead of a 12-month calendar a daily calendar. So, one new dog drawing every day, and that was super fun. That has kind of coalesced into now an ongoing [thing where] every year I draw, like, 400 dog cartoons and pick the best ones and make them into a calendar. And this year, like I said, glutton for punishment, I was like, “Dogs aren’t enough! I’ll do cats, too.” So now I have those side projects.
Q. Could you tell me about your “Lost + Hound” project?
A. This was a public art place making project sponsored by the City of Albany. On top of what used to be the RCA Victor building in downtown Albany, there’s this really, really big statue of a dog called Nipper, who is the mascot of the RCA Victor company. They got these 20 fiberglass replicas of the Nipper dog and they had an application period for artists to submit to decorate one. My concept for my Nipper sculpture was to wallpaper it or cover it completely in illustrations of different people, icons, images, symbols that had to do with Albany. It was displayed in downtown Albany for I think a year and a half. They were all auctioned off at the end of that exhibit. I later got an e-mail and learned that the family that bid on him was the family of the architect who was partly responsible for putting the original Nipper dog on top of the RCA Victor building in the first place, who had actually passed away a week before the auction. It was so incredibly poignant to hear from that family. It was a bit of a full circle element for me.