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Nyan Cat meets Me Gusta

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Garfield. Pink Panther. Nyan Cat.

They are three of the most recognizable cat illustrations in the world. Yet most people wouldn’t be able to recognize their creators walking in the street.

That wasn’t the case, however, for Nyan Cat creator Chris Torres at ROFLcon on Friday, where he spoke about his illustration, its impact on his life, and what he thinks of the Internet’s reaction to it.

“Nobody really knows the person behind specific memes,” Torres told an auditorium filled with people wearing his illustration.

“It’s all over the place. I love it. People love my work and feel like they can express themselves with their own versions.”

Since creating the illustration more than a year ago and subsequently having it set to the high-pitched song “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!” playing on repeat, hundreds of people have made the cat their own.

Last last month, Canvas user Joe Palfreyman (photocopier) re-imagined the Nyan Cat’s origin with a stellar GIF that collected more than 1,500 stickers. That was shortly followed by a remix featuring Tom Waits.

Yet despite his new found Internet fame, Torres said his life is pretty much the same.

“There hasn’t been anything extraordinary,” Torres said. “It’s just so mind blowing that the mainstream media is interested in me and what I do.”

The same feeling was shared by fellow panelist Matt Oswald, the creator of “Me Gusta,” a rage comic face that originated on 4chan. Like the Nyan Cat, “Me Gusta” has been turned into T-shirts, hilarious YouTube videos, and an educational tool. And Oswald wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The main reason why it’s OK is because I’m not the main reason why it exists,” Oswald said. “The Internet is the reason why it’s famous in the first place so they can have it.”  

Photo by Fernando Alfonso III