NEW YORK CITY — For this painter, local politicians are the purrfect subject for a new art series.
He started posting excerpts from his Politicians as Cats series earlier this month to celebrate his birthday, starting with the elected officials from his native Oklahoma.
"I really didn't have a rhyme or reason as to what politicians to go to," said Pego, 36, who does all of his work on a Samsung GALAXY S5 using an app and a stylus.
Each project takes about an hour, he said.
While Pego usually tries to take a darkly humorous spin on politicians, he said he actually toned down his painting of Avella.
"He had already done the work for me by wielding two machetes in very comical fashion," he said.
"I almost went with that pose, but he did too good a job. It seemed like a good fit. He was very easy to translate into a cat."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or "Cuomew," was made to resemble a white Persian cat.
Pego, who primarily makes and sells jewelry for his Etsy shop, decided to start painting again after finding the recent frigid temperatures in Oklahoma too difficult to make jewelry.
He teaches painting at Wine and Palette, and the cat portraits are a way for him to improve his skill on the digital stylus, he said.
He's been selecting the politicians randomly, and does a little research on them to understand who they are.
Then he'll scan photos of different breeds of cats to find which one best fits the photos of the politicians, he said.
"I'll look at their general characteristics, get the notion in my mind, then I'll can through Google Image really fast and see if someone pops out as similar," he said.
Pego said he's also open to suggestions on who to create next, and is painting both state and national senators.
"Any suggestion is fine — it helps take the thinking out of it, so I can focus on the painting," he said.
What politician would you want to see painted and what kind of cat would you like to see them portrayed as?