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    About six years ago, Brittney “Cat” McCormick was on bed rest following knee surgery. “And I’m a busybody, so I thought I was going to lose my mind,” she says. “I needed to teach myself something to occupy my time.” Having dabbled in photography, pottery and crocheting, she decided to try graphic design on the advice of her printmaker husband. “Then, I just never stopped,” McCormick says. She quit her job managing big-box retail stores, leaving behind the misery of concrete floors and fluorescent lights, and started working at a small Louisville printmaking shop called Meme-Tech. “I went from full-time salary with benefits to grunt work,” she says. She deferred her student loans, used savings to cover basic bills. “I lived paycheck to paycheck, making whatever sacrifices I needed in order to push forward,” she says.

    Since 2012, the 33-year-old has had her own business, MissHappyPink, which she likes to describe as a “lifestyle brand for cat lovers, badass babes and kick-ass dudes.” (The name MissHappyPink is a reference to her husband Justin Kamerer’s design studio, Angryblue.) McCormick designs prints (“Fight For Your Rights” above fallopian tubes wearing boxing gloves), enamel pins (a ghost with heart-shaped eyes: “Everyone sucks except my boo!”), magnets (a carrot with the words “I don’t carrot all”) and “Catcore.” “My style is alternative with a little dash of punk rock, a sprinkle of cats and occasionally pastel colors with an undertone of goth,” she says. “Oh, and throw in a biker for good measure.”

    McCormick, her husband and another printmaker share a musty space in the basement of the old Hope Worsted Mills Co. building in Germantown. She works alongside her four cats — Edgar, Kurt, Bossk and Mugatu (each with a bio on her website). McCormick’s black jean jacket hangs on the back of a plastic chair, bearing several patches of her own design, including a black cat on a stack of books with the words “Last Chapter,” and two small rectangular patches: “Born to Read,” “Read to Live.” The brightly colored jars of paint match the electric-blue and purple in her platinum-blond hair.

    McCormick originally intended to do freelance design work. “Because I have the business background, I realized that wasn’t the best fit for me. I wasn’t a fan of being managed,” she says. She started with art prints inspired by pop culture. “Or what I call ‘Putting a bird on it,’” she says, a reference to the TV show Portlandia. “I thought, ‘Well, people like bikes, so I’ll print a bike.’” It took her about five years to develop her own style. “I knew the things I wanted to wear,” she says. She started making things that reflected her love for ’80s dance music and punk rock, with elements of feminism and, of course, cats.

    McCormick travels all over the U.S., selling at festivals and pop-up shops. She recently brought her work to L.A., where more than 16,000 cat lovers attended the CatCon exhibition. (Her work is available locally at Revelry and Block Party.) She is also the creator of the art fundraiser Cattitude, held annually at Copper & Kings. Her goal for the future? “Designing things that are badass,” she says.

    This originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline "With a Cat's Eye." To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Mickie Winters, mickiewinters.com

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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