Cat Ferraz is an artist, painter, color explorer and co-creator of cantravel.today, a travel blog. She and her partner Nick Rother are traveling artists who document life through adventure on the site, which also features Cat’s art installations. She’s painted murals in Ecuador, Chile, Peru and other places worldwide, including multiple cities in the United States.
When the community of Hollywood, Fla. embarked on a city beautification project in 2021, Cat was selected to paint a 460-foot mural. Residents of this popular beach destination felt that a sound barrier wall at one of the city’s main entry points was an eyesore and began raising funds for the project in 2016. Cat spent six weeks transforming the wall into a sea life mural, creating a landmark for residents and visitors to enjoy. According to the City of Hollywood’s Facebook page, more than 40,000 cars pass the wall every day.
Though a departure from murals, Cat used her illustration skills to engage kids during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. The artist illustrated “I Wish I Had an Ice Cream Cone Tree” by Noah and Jennifer Tobias, a mother and son. The authors and Cat created the children’s book to help kids cope with learning at home. It’s free to download. In addition, Cat encourages readers to print and color the book’s black and white illustrations.
We asked Cat to tell us more about her career.
Artisan Joy: How did you become an artist?
Cat Ferraz: I’m an artist, and it took me a part of my life to realize what that means, but I’ve always been creating.
AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your artwork into a career?
CF: I realized that I wasn’t living the life I should be living and decided to see if it was possible to live as an artist solely.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration, and how do you apply it to your work?
CF: Other painters inspire me, such as Egon Schiele, an Australian painter who died in 1918, contemporary Italian artist Francesco Clemente and British painter Lucian Freud, who died in 2011. I use Instagram as a pocket museum while in waiting rooms. Different cultures and exploring new places is the biggest driver of all. I apply the inspiration by using the color combinations I see and love in my work, sometimes more subtly than others.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
CF: I’m more of a free spirit than people imagine, but I am grounded. Because of my name, I do relate to felines. I’ve had profound encounters with jaguars and mountain lions, and I relate mostly to the number of extra lives; it’s made me believe in reincarnation over the years.
AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining. How do you handle perfectionism?
CF: You have to keep it moving. There is always a sense of anticipation and worry at the beginning of every new project.
AJ: What advice would you give to an artist interested in putting a product out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?
CF: It’s like a mission—you can do it—you just need to know what you need for survival.
AJ: Has someone ever criticized your art? How did you handle it?
CF: Of course. When it comes to art, most people don’t know what they are talking about. People interrupt me all of the time when I’m creating public art installations—they don’t understand that it’s my version of brain surgery. Too many people don’t respect art as a profession.
AJ: Are you passionate about a cause, and why?
CF: I live for the earth. People should respect it in their own hearts; if more people did, it would be a better place.
AJ: What brings you joy?
CF: Freedom, traveling, swimming, the ocean, my family and being global, having friends all over the world and my eyesight
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.