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More Marty Mouse: expressions from the heART

by Mil Scott

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gan coming up with ways to do just that. Shown on these pages are the creations sent to Marty to express their love. Since Marty often portrayed himself as a rat heavily involved in “internashunal bizness” (and offered various products featuring his likeness via his website’s online store, www.martymousehouse.bigcartel.co m), some of these works captured this side of his character, including a digital drawing by Ash Josephine Kelleher…

of my all-time favorite quotes states, “The work of creation is an act of love.” Another reminds us “art and rat are made up of the same letters.” That said, it only stands to reason a very special rat should inspire artists all over the world to express their love for him through creative works — and that his very name should consist largely of the word art. That name, of course, is Marty Mouse. When I wrote the first article on Marty for TRRQ earlier this year, I had recently discovered him on Facebook, where he then had a following of thirty-six hundred fans. In the months that followed, this skyrocketed to more than fifteen thousand — a number that daily continues to rise. As explained in that prior piece, Marty’s mom, photographer Sarah Hunt, created Marty’s page in response to friends who objected to seeing pictures of a rat on her personal profile. Ironically, it was this spate of rodentphobia that spawned ...and a mini-Marty figurine by Lise the tidal wave of rodent love Sarah Doyle-Goss. (Star Brux Pet Boutique, had no idea was soon to be unwww.facebook.com/star.brux?fref=ts) leashed. But, her daily postings of Marty’s life, given clever contexts, and often featuring witty captions, were too adorable to resist, and before long they were being shared over and over by pet rat enthusiasts, and eventually, people with no prior rat experience. Before long, fans receiving these amazing gifts of Marty couldn’t help wishing they might give him something in return. And, soon, they be-

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The Rodent Reader Quarterly

Photos, pp. 16-20, courtesy of Sarah Hunt.

Others referenced his penchant for space travel, like this statue by Clare Hall...

...and this piece, about which Sarah says, “Silje Grambo Mellemstuen sent Marty some Norweigian yogies and a nice letter with the Space Marty Art. She is a 14 year old from

Norway. When she saw Marty’s space adventure she made a little space ship for her rat Sniff, and asked me if I could photoshop it for her, and put him in space. I coached her through how to make a photo that would work, and she did so well that I put Sniff in space with Marty for a quick fly by.” Artist Jerry Pesce was also inspired by Marty’s space adventures,

www.sarahhunt.com

www.martymousehouse.com


in the form of a print called “Jedi figure with his very own bag for yoBizness,” (which fans can purchase gies (by an artist whose name I, unat fortunately, don’t know)… www.pesceffects.com/#!product/prd1 5/3205587881/%22jedi-bizness%2213%22x19%22-art-print)

...Flat Marty, from YUKARI at Flat Bonnie (www.flatbonnie.com)… What’s more, if I’m not mistaken, those are yogies at Marty’s feet in a second clay RagRat figurine (also by Clare Hall, more of whose work you can find at www.facebook.com/SpookyHallRagR ats).

Another side of Marty’s personality that prompted fan creations — a side, I might add, that all rats on the planet (and, I suspect, in space) have in common — was his love of food…. examples of which can be seen in the header to this article, where Marty poses with his “Starberry” painting by Colleen Breaux, the digital drawing called “Marty with the Magic Yogie,” by Bella Canovas, shown below, and a tiny

...Marty Feltman, from Mrs. Plop’s Shoppe (www.etsy.com/shop/MrsPlopsShopp e)…

Still more fans crafted works inspired simply by Marty’s adorable face, form and loving spirit — such as Mini-Marty by Lexi McGrath…

…a goose painting and stuffed toy by Ryanne Gosling and her mom Tiffany Dare Turner… The Rodent Reader Quarterly

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...a tartan kilt by Lisa Wooten and her friend, seamstress Barbara Smith…

(cont’d on p. 18)

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I visited Amy’s blog for the first time with this article already in progress, and found words there to express my exact thoughts on the amazing artist Sarah herself is, and the innovative ways she’s used her creativity to share Marty, and inspire literally thousands of people by mingling the words rat and art — and ...and an entire line of “Squeeze proving beyond question these are, Marty” pillows by artist Steph Laberis indeed, made up of the same letters. ...Pixel Hobby by German fan, Kor(stephlaberis.com, Amy said, “Her pictures celebrate nelia Buch… www.facebook.com/stephlaberisart) Marty. They also showcase Sarah's talents as a visual storyteller… Artists can look at the ‘photos’ section of Marty's Facebook page and get inspiration for character design from all the creativity there… Her clever use of props, and her ability to capture brief moments and sharp details, are exceptional.” So true. They also represent the clearest possible illustration of following one’s heart. In addition to being a professional photographer, Sarah … a coaster of Marty with his has long been a rescuer of cats (and, “canaloop” from UK fan, Shauna Olof course, has used her photographic droyd Campbell skills to aid in this endeavor). Prior (www.facebook.com/ditsyglass)… to meeting Marty, however, she had never owned a rat — or rather, been owned by one. But, as explained in the prior TRRQ article on Marty, that Whew, is that a lot of art! And, changed in an instant during an the quantity of love it represents is adoption day at Petsmart. Here’s her even greater — both on the part of those who created it, and in the grati- very first photo of him, which she tude of Sarah, who took painstaking sent her husband, Bill, before bringcare in providing photos and details ing Marty home… of each creation for this article (not to mention who proved endlessly patient with me as I repeatedly emailed her for clarifications and more pics!) Yet, while the preceding collection includes nearly every piece of fan art ...paintings by Dutch artist Nadya I’m aware of, it barely scratches the Slenders surface of the creativity involved in (www.facebook.com/nadyartillustratie Marty’s story. And, I wrapped up )... with the pillow above because it’s this piece that brings me to a mutual friend of Sarah’s and its creator, Like many a human before her, whose comments in a recent blog Sarah quickly learned just how entry form a perfect segue to the amazing rats really are — how clean, concluding portion of this article — clever, and resourceful, not to menwhich is the part I didn’t mention to Sarah when discussing my plans for tion how much love is crammed into their tiny bodies. And, though many including it in TRRQ. newly minted rat lovers have shared “Amy Wagner and her husband,” their discoveries with their friends, Sarah told me in an email, “own an few have ever possessed the capaciartist/comic/illustration bookstore called Stuart Ng Books. She takes ty to do so in such a magnificent way. Mingling the true-life ebullience Squeeze Marty to conventions with of Marty himself with her own penher and poses him with all sorts of chant for whimsy, and precise skills people/artists/things.”

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The Rodent Reader Quarterly


with both her camera and Phoshe continually reminded visitors that toshop, Sarah created a little world art imitates life — and that fiction ofvisitors could escape to every day — a world that left Mondays out, and

ten expresses truth, by also sharing her wonder at Marty’s genuine “ratness,” and the inherent beauty of his species.

On the inside, it reads, “Dear Colleen, Dis Marty. Fank you so much for da wonderful package! I weally lub da painting for my office! You hab gweat talents. I weally appreciate presented continual opportunities to eberyfing! Nobody eber made me a bring Marty fans in — such as his letter my size before. Berry thoughtsharing of rat wisdom through “Deer ful. If I could send you some yogies I Marty,” and what became the fawould, but I eated dem all. XOXO, Marty” Also, of Sarah’s work, “Squeeze Marty” Pillow artist Steph Laberis says, “I was introduced to Marty's page through a mutual rat-loving Given this, it’s no wonder he be- friend. How I fell in love with his percame such a successful ambassador sonality and character! Sarah's phofor rats, and that Sarah (though sel- tos are just brilliant. So I posted dom inserting herself into his frame) some artwork I did of my recently became such an inspiration to fellow deceased rat, Rocket (who herself was one of my most special rats), artists — like Colleen Breaux (miniand hinted that I wanted to do some painting creator), who has since made her work available to the pub- art for Marty, too. Sarah got in touch lic, through Sarah’s encouragement. with me and I showed her some pil(https://www.facebook.com/colleens low ideas I had been toying with, for other animals. We decided that Marty mous “License Plate Challenge” - for minipaintings) would be a perfect subject for a pilwhich people sent personalized tags Colleen also shared how much low, because that way people could from across the entire U.S., as well work Sarah goes to behind the have a Marty of their own to snuggle, as distant parts of the globe. scenes to express appreciation for since the real Marty couldn’t possibly Marty’s fans — exemplified by this be everywhere at once! We started card she received from Marty after with the Bizness Marty pillow and the sending his “Starberry” canvas. ideas for other pillows - super heroes, astronauts, chefs, teachers, elves, reindeer... - just flowed naturally, and we kept doing them. I don't know if we will ever be able to do them all. Marty was just a source of inspiration and character that only a rat can provide. She made him part of fantasy ad“The whole experience has ventures, like his aforementioned brought me closer to both Sarah and space journey, and by melding his my friend who introduced us! Sarah world with that of her more serious is the kind of person I feel like I have work, enabled him to stroll along the known my whole life. I was lucky Brooklyn Bridge. At the same time,

(cont’d on p. 20)

The Rodent Reader Quarterly

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Photos of Marty Thank You Card, courtesy of Colleen Breaux


enough to visit Marty in-person when I was on vacation this summer and fell in love all over again… I am dumbstruck how one rat, in the care of the right human, can go from a forgotten pet store inhabitant to a conduit of love, humor and compassion, in the rat community and beyond. I hope his legacy inspires people to take on rats as pets (with careful research, of course) or, at the very least, to be a little kinder to Marty's wild cousins out there.” Lise Doyle-Goss, who created the mini– Marty figurine shown on p. 16, has similarly glowing things to say. “Marty has left permanent paw prints on a lot of hearts (mine included). It is amazing to see the number of people who embrace him. I honestly think Marty could have changed anyone's negative opinion of pet rats. This, his ‘smiling’ face, and his ability to make others smile was my inspiration to create a Mini-Marty. Marty truly was the ambassador of rats — and always will be!” Sadly, as the past-tense use in the above comment implies, Marty recently passed on. Though devastated on a personal level, Sarah broke this news to Marty’s fans with now accustomed grace — and, of course, art. Along with this photo featuring Marty Feltman, she shared

the following words, “Hi everyone. This is Marty's mom. It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have to let you know that Marty passed away this evening. Over the last week or so he hasn't been feeling well, and after many trips to the vet, he was diagnosed

with an enlarged heart. We did everything we could, but in the end there was nothing to be done. He died peacefully in my hands, with his dad right by his side. He died because his heart was just too big. But we already knew that. He left us these boxes of tissues for our sad. “I don't think it will be enough. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and I know Marty would, too, for taking this awesome "adbenture" with us. It was amazing, and you all mean the world to me. I've made lifelong friends, and met so many wonderful people from around the world that shared the love of this amazing little boy. My life will feel empty without him, and I know some of yours will, too. But we are all better off for having him as a part of our daily lives - he will live forever in our hearts. “I have so many photos of him that haven't been posted, that I want to share with you. We will keep this page going in his honor. “Like they say in the movie, Ghost... ‘It's amazing. The love inside, you take it with you.’" Indeed, Marty’s love goes with his sixteen thousand fans (and counting) every day. And, it continues to be shared on his FB page. And, this article is appearing here to honor his incredible legacy, and to thank his mom…

...and his dad (seen at the top of the next column) for providing him such a happy home, and surely opening the way for other rats, albeit those

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who may never achieve such fame, to find happy homes as well. In Marty’s honor, his parents have set up another way to help rats — a click-thru link that raises funds for rat rescues when people shop (without costing them any additional money than they’re already spending on their purchase. You can learn more about this on Marty’s website, www.martymousehouse.com, where you can also purchase Marty calendars, the aforementioned pillows and much more).

And, of course, Marty continues to inspire the acts of love that are works of art — including another miniature painting (in progress) by Colleen Breaux, and this exclusive illustration Nadya Slenders sent his parents to commemorate Marty’s journey to the Rainbow Bridge…

Surely, this won’t be the last art inspired by Marty’s life. And, when the time is right, I hope his legacy is also marked, as our first rat Molly’s soon was for us, with a new work of living art that is another rat. To tell you the truth, I’m already looking forward to meeting him — or her.

20 The Rodent Reader Quarterly

The Rodent Reader Quarterly - 4th Qtr. 2014 - Marty Mouse Article  

An article from the 4th Qtr. 2014 issue of The Rodent Reader Quarterly. To subscribe, or purchase just this issue, visit http://artistinsan...

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