The Calgary artist known for his cat and mouse armor says he’s been inundated with messages since his art was highlighted in National Geographic last month.
Jeff de Boer was featured in a December 22 National Geographic article titled “Meet the World’s First (and Only) Cat and Mouse Armorer.”
Shortly thereafter, the artist received an email from National Geographic’s director of social media that a video and photo montage about De Boer had been viewed more than 12 million times on social media.
According to De Boer, the inbox filled up quickly.
de Boer said: “(Some) people have inquired about wanting to buy my work. I have never had this kind of exposure and it is rare for artists to get this kind of exposure.
De Boer likes the title he received from Nat Geo and says it started in 1986 while he was a jewelry maker at the Alberta College of the Arts.
After he made his first mouse armor, an instructor encouraged him to pursue his passion.
De Boer estimates that he has created over 500 cat and mouse creations to date.
“The number of inquiries for my job is through the roof right now,” he said. “
The artist says he has many clients who have become collectors and is always looking for another piece to add to his arsenal.
De Boer said he bills his clients by the hour, unlike most artists.
“I’m not going to tell you what my hourly rate is if you can imagine the cost of running a store and having to pay a salary,” de Boer said.
“Rats take an average of about 50 hours, and cat armor takes 150 to 400 hours, so you can handle a cat for three months. Imagine hiring someone to work professionally for three months. I can roughly understand the price.”
De Boer has worked on a variety of projects over the years, but wants to focus the rest of his career on cat and mouse armor, creating traveling exhibits that dive deep into the mystical world. .
According to De Boer, exhibitions of his work could include all sorts of new technologies, such as augmented reality, to immerse visitors in his art and see it in action.
He is frequently asked if animals are equipped with his protective works.
“My armor is not meant to be worn, but to spark your imagination, and everyone asks cats and mice if they ever wear armor,” de Boer “That’s not the point. What you’re asking me to do is the point. That’s where I think it becomes art.”
For more information on the artist, please visit www.Jeffdeboer.com.