Artists Allied

In an effort to ask the hard hitting questions of some of your favorite Lucasfilm artists, we start off this series with the lovely and talented Cat Staggs. So without further ado...

Artists Allied: Spotlight on Cat Staggs
By Terri Hodges

1. The question that everyone wants to know, how did you become a Lucasfilm-approved artist?

In August of 2004, Wizard World Chicago, I met Steve Sansweet. We talked briefly and I gave him a portfolio. I went home and never thought anything of it. Then come December and I got an email from Topps asking if I would be interested in drawing for the Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) Sketch Card set. I had to submit some of my work and a long agonizing week later I was given the thumbs up and a new Lucasfilm-approved artist was born.

2. Where do you hail from? How did you end up where you are?
I was born in Louisiana, raised in Colorado. My father transferred to Houston for work when I was 17. I went to school at UT San Antonio and stayed.

3. Tell me about your family. Do you have siblings? Married, single or otherwise? Kids? Pets?
I have one younger brother who was my best friend growing up. I consider myself married to my wonderful partner Margie. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary. Margie and I are overloaded with furry children consisting of 3 cats and 2 dogs.

4. Is anyone else in your family artistic in any way?
My grandmother paints as a hobby. I don't think she ever pursued it in any way. My uncle is a musician/songwriter. (Cat's uncle wrote for such notables as Cyndi Lauper and Jane Wiedlin - TH)

5. What or who was your biggest influence?
My biggest influence.... hmmm.... Growing up it was Chuck Jones. HUGE "Looney Tunes" fan as well as "Tom and Jerry". I was really taken with his drawing style. As I got older I turned to folks like M.C. Esher and Norman Rockwell. I love to look at every facet of detail he created. I am also a big fan of more modern illustrators like Drew Struzan, Simon Bisley, Dave Dorman, and Frank Frazetta to name a few.

6. Did you go to art school (and where) or are you self taught?
I majored in Fine Art in college, focusing on portrait work. I have been drawing my whole life. I can't remember ever not. So I guess a little of both.

7. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Always. I've never entertained anything else.

8. On what Lucasfilm (in particular) and other projects have you worked in the past?
The Topps ROTS sketch card set was my biggest professional project. I was also given the opportunity to create a painting for the Star Wars Celebration III Art Show. I have done a few independent comic covers and most recently "The Lord of the Rings: Evolution" sketch card set. (Hobbits and Elves and Orcs, oh my - TH)

9. If your home caught on fire, what would you grab while running out the door?
My pets... As much as it would hurt, everything else can be replaced. Okay, that was a depressing question... I would save it ALL! (These are those hard-hitting questions I was talking about! - TH)

10. Do you have any other talents you would like to share?
Um...... Don't really think I have anything else that would be considered a talent. (I'm just gonna leave that one alone - TH)

11. What was your first job? What was your first professional art job?
First job... Movie theater box office. First pro art job... An album cover for Jose Alfredo Jimenez. It was a greatest hits collection. (Can I still pick up that little ditty in stores? - TH)

12. What projects are you currently working on?
Just finished the "LOTR: Evolution" sketch cards and I'm currently working on another sketch card set and another cover for an independent comic. Amongst various commissions. (See Cat's website to inquire about commission prices and details - TH)

13. What is your favorite person or thing that you like to draw?
Portraits... Any kind of portrait.
Least favorite?
As much of a detail freak as I am... Buildings and vehicles are my least favorite thing to do.

14. If you were trapped on a desert island, name 3 people that you would want to have with you?
Three? Only three?... 1 and 2 are easy... Margie and my Mom. The third... There are too many people I would miss to just pick one. (It's okay, Cat, you can't say it's me out loud! - TH)

15. If you could do any other job, what would it be?
If I could do anything else... Criminologist, or to be more specific, get in the field of forensics... But this is a big IF as I really don't have the stomach for it in reality. But it is fascinating to me.

16. Here is your chance to name drop: Have you met any of your heroes? Anyone else of note?
I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of musicians and actors I have been a fan of growing up. Like Eric Clapton, William Shatner and Michael Caine. There are some very special ones as well, like Peter Mayhew, Jeremy Bulloch, Kenny Baker and Carrie Fisher. They are tied to a time in my life that was very special. I have also gotten to meet some of my artist heroes, like Dave Dorman, Tommy Lee Edwards and Adam Hughes. (Shatner!!... Cat, come on! - TH)

17. If you could live in any time in history, what would it be and why?
I would love to have been around for some of the great art movements, like Cubism, Impressionism, even DaDa or Pop. Just to experience what is it was like to discover something new and ride the wave.

18. What turns you into a big fanboy or fangirl?
Art and movies and if you put them together.. I can't function properly.

19. Do you have any collections (geeky or otherwise)?
Yes... I have a big Star Wars collection from toys to books and music to art/posters. I also have a rather large music and movie collection. I have a few smaller collections of sports memorabilia.

20. What is your proudest moment?
Getting that first job that took my art around the world and allowed me to continue to draw for a living, even if it is not the easiest thing to do.

21. And finally.. Tell us something about yourself no one would expect.
I just joined a bowling team. (I personally know you toiled over the last question and I thank you for sending this interview out with a bang!! - TH)

Thanks for reading!
Be sure to check out all of our Artist Spotlights!