Well, the time has come. Though he’s forever in our hearts, we’re sad to announce that sales of this year’s very special collaboration coffee, Santa Claude, featuring beloved British cat Claude himself (illustrated by Martin Kingdom) have now come to an end. But that’s no reason for to sunset the fun.
Thanks to your purchases worldwide, and with special help from Claude and the teams at Round Hill and Cafe Imports, we’ve raised a cool $1000 so far to support De Poezenboot, Amsterdam’s beloved floating cat rescue. To commemorate this momentous occasion—and to help raise just a little more scratch for the cat boat—we’re hosting a very special auction of a new original Martin Kingdom work right now over on the Sprudge Instagram, depicting Claude in all his glory. The auction begins at 12:00pm PST on December 19th, and ends 24 hours later, at 12:00pm PST Thursday, December 20th.
Go follow Sprudge on Instagram to check out auction details and place your bid today. All amounts raised will be donated directly by the auction winner to De Poezenboot, our charitable partners throughout the Santa Claude campaign. See our Instagram for complete details on the auction.
We also thought we’d take this moment to chat a bit more with Martin Kingdom, who is coming up on a very big holiday weekend indeed—his art is featured in the hotly awaited new Mary Poppins film, starring Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda.
Hello Martin! Thank you for chatting with us, and thank you for helping create such lovely and adorable design work for this project. First, how did you get started as an illustrator?
Martin Kingdom: My background is more rooted in fine art really, I’m a bit of an imposter in the illustration world. I suppose you could say I straddle art and illustration. I studied art for a year in Oxford, and pretty soon after that landed a job as a silk screen printer, making fine art prints for some quite big-name artists. I moved from this into being an artist’s assistant, which involved oil painting on a daily basis, so I have put my 10,000 hours in on that front. From there I began making prints and producing my own work, and was asked to join an illustration collective called Puck. I began getting commissioned seriously from then, and at the moment I’m able to earn a living using my artistic skills, painting and illustrating.
What was your first coffee design project?
My first coffee related drawing job was to illustrate the four-, six-, and eight-ounce cups for Prufrock Coffee, in I think 2009. They had a wonderful set up in a men’s clothes shop in Shoreditch, and one of the baristas, Jessie Fay, asked if I could draw a four-, six-, and eight-legged creature on to the three different sized takeaway cups. I don’t remember what animals I drew, as I’ve done several different sets because they kept getting stolen or lost! I’ve done bears, mice, lobsters, crabs, moths, bison, and of course the cute bunn, which Prufrock kept as their mascot.
What has been your very favorite design project to date?
Well, this week sees the release of Mary Poppins Returns, the Disney sequel to Mary Poppins, and I was lucky enough to get to work on one of the main props in the film! I was commissioned to paint the scene on the magical Royal Doulton bowl which the characters get transported into as part of the story. It was an amazing thing to do, I got to meet the director and visit the studios at Shepperton in West London too. I saw the film a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say the bowl ends up in the hands of Meryl Streep!
And, of course, anything to do with Claude is always a great pleasure to do. He’s such a very nice cat. Despite all the coffee he drinks.
Ah yes, Claude. What special challenges does portraying Claude present?
The main challenge of portraying Claude is the fact that he drinks so much coffee, he just can’t sit still, so he’s constantly jumping off the chair, chasing rolled up sweet wrappers and messing about with his friend Patti.
The Prime Minister (of Great Britain) has a cat called Larry that is the official cabinet mouser, that lives at 10 Downing Street and is supposed to catch all the invading mice, but is in fact pretty useless. He has his own Wikipedia page. I’d love to paint his portrait, in oils, and have it hang in the National Portrait Gallery. I like to think of him sitting on Theresa May’s lap as she plots to destroy our country further (sorry, got a bit political there).
I think we can all agree on being pro Mouser. Thank you Martin!
Cruise over to Instagram and check out today’s auction action. Bids close at 12:00 PST on Thursday, December 20th, 2018.
Special thanks to Round Hill Roastery, Cafe Imports, Dutch Pack, Oli Bradshaw, and Claude.