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Welcome to ... Catlanta! | News

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Welcome to ... Catlanta!
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There is an artist in Atlanta who will not say his name and rarely shows his face. He shows pride for his city in a quiet way.

Quiet ... as a cat.

"What I like about the idea of mascots is that they represent the good things," says the anonymous artist. "Mascots are supposed to be kind of an ambassador of goodwill in a way."

PHOTOS | The face behind Catlanta

The artist has come up with Atlanta's unofficial mascot: Catlanta.

They are miniature wooden cats that the artist makes in his home and gives away in spots around the city.

"I had done some graffiti of a cat with the word 'Catlanta', and people seemed to respond to it," he said. "It sort of dawned on me that I could make a scavenger hunt out of this."

That was three years ago. Ever since, the artist has used his spare time to fashion felines -- "probably well over a thousand," he says.

Every time he makes a cat, he plants it somewhere in the city, from Turner Field and the High Museum to Zoo Atlanta and Dragon-Con. Then he posts a photo online, and within minutes, someone snatches the cat.

How long do the cats last before getting picked up?

"Probably no more than five minutes," says the artist. "If it's there for longer than ten minutes ... well, that doesn't really happen, to be honest."

The artist has built an online following of thousands, but he has not kept any of the cats he has made. Even now, when a group asks him to make them - like this weekend's Music Midtown - he only gets paid in supplies ... and maybe tickets.

"You know, when I was in school for art, I wound up just having piles of artwork," he says. "This means a lot to me, and that's why I make them for the people, and the response that I get is worth it in itself."

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For more on Catlanta, check out their Facebook page.

For more stories by Matt Pearl, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and read his "Telling The Story" blog.

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