Local toy designer Kurt Marquart, working out of his home studio, is rebuilding a brand of characters called Squaredy Cats. A play on “scaredy cat,” the artist merges adorable, cube shaped, plush kitties with fringe characters and odd themes.
Living and working in Florida inspired the new Pirate Series. Peeper Tom is a pirate kitty with an eye patch. He’s embroidered with the ironic phrase, “I see what you did there” on his belly. The second is the sea-monster captain, Kraken Jack, a bearded and tentacle-faced cat that is unexpectedly adorable. His belly embroidery reads, “Salty but sweet.” The third character is named Square Peggy. She’s a disabled peg-leg pirate who can accomplish anything despite only having three paws. It’s in her outlook, and embroidered as “Kiss my booty” on her belly.
The Squaredy Cats characters were recently displayed in the exhibit, “Play: The Art of Toys” at Studio 18 in the Pines, presented by the City of Pembroke Pines Recreation & Cultural Arts Department. Marquart featured concept art and finished plush pieces in the exhibit. The Pirates Series concept art was well received. He is seeking funding to produce them. Visit www.squaredycats.com for links to the Kickstarter campaign where you can pre-order the set of individual characters.
Marquart has been selling his Squaredy Cats at local conventions, fairs and market events. “I’m hoping to make it to the Boynton Beach Pirate Festival,” he said, referring to the popular October event.
Originally designed by Marquart and Elaine de la Mata in 2008 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Monkey Doodle Dandy licensed the character brand to Gund and Kids Preferred, producing 15 characters under plush licenses. The couple rebooted the brand in 2018 and successfully funded three new monster mash-up characters on Kickstarter.
“The new characters Kurt is creating resonate with people who want something unexpected and different,” de la Mata said.
From his home-based design and illustration studio serving the toy and game industries, Marquart provides digital illustration, graphics, concepts and character design to toy companies, local and worldwide, major and small.