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Calgary artist inundated with inquiries after 'National Geographic' featured his mouse armour


A Calgary artist known for his cat and mouse armour says he's been inundated with messages since his art was highlighted by National Geographic last month.

Jeff de Boer was profiled in a Dec. 22 National Geographic article titled "Meet the world’s first (and only) cat and mouse armourer."

Shortly after, the artist received an email from National Geographic's social media director saying a video and photo montage about De Boer had received over 12 million views on social media.

De Boer says his inbox filled soon after.

"It took me a week of nonstop, every day responding to people and emails," said de Boer. "(Some) people inquiring to purchase my work. I've never had this kind of exposure and very rarely do artists get this kind of exposure."

De Boer likes the title he received from Nat Geo, saying it's something he started doing in 1986 while enrolled in Alberta University of the Arts as a jewellery maker.

After he produced his first mouse suit of armour, instructors encouraged him to purse his passion.

De Boer estimates he's made more than 500 cat and mouse pieces and with more attention, comes more work.

"The number of inquiries for my work is through the roof right now," he said. "I'm probably booked until 2025 at this point, with new work so it's pretty wild."

@natgeo Meet the world's first (and only) cat and mouse armorer 🐱🐭 Read more at the 🔗 in bio. 📸 by @christiehemmklok ♬ original sound - National Geographic

The artist has many clients who've become collectors and says they are always looking for another piece to add to their arsenal.

De Boer says unlike most artists, he bills clients by the hour.

"If you can imagine the cost of running a shop and having to run a salary, I'm not going to tell you what my hourly rate is," said de Boer.

"A mouse will be on average, around 50 hours and a suit of cat armor can be 150 to 400 hours so you could be working on a cat for three months, so imagine hiring anybody to work for you as a professional for three months, you get an idea of the price."

De Boer has worked on various projects over the years and would like to focus the rest of his career on cat and mouse suits of armour, and create a travelling exhibit that would be a deeper dive into the mystical world.

De Boer says an exhibition of his work could include all kinds of new technologies, like augmented reality, to immerse visitors into his art and see it in action.

He's frequently asked if an animal has been outfitted in his protective creations.

"My armour isn't really intended to be (worn), it's to stimulate your imagination and everybody asks have you ever put a suit of armour on a cat or a mouse," said de Boer. "That's not the point, that you're asking me is the point, that's where I think it becomes art."

Learn more about the artist here: Top Stories

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