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A Closer Look: Buffalo illustrator's feline Donald Trump illustration

Artist: Michael Gelen // Title: "Composition in Line and Cat" // Online at inwellstudios.blogspot.com

For his latest caricature, Buffalo-based illustrator Michael Gelen didn't have to look far for inspiration. It crawled right past him in his studio a couple of weeks ago, and he turned it into one of his most popular illustrations yet.

Gelen's cat Chuck, an orange-hued feline vaguely reminiscent of a certain Republican presidential candidate's most distinguishing feature, became the piece de resistance in an illustration that has become a viral sensation since Gelen posted it on Sept. 18:

Michael Gelen's illustration of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been widely shared online. Image from inkwellstudios.blogspot.com.

Michael Gelen's illustration of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been widely shared online. Image from inkwellstudios.blogspot.com.

The idea struck Gelen after he'd worked on a pair of Trump illustrations for national publications in recent months, and saw Chuck curl himself into a familiar shape.

"I looked at him one time and just made that connection, a shaggy orange cat that kind of resembled Donald Trump's hair, and I thought that would be kind of funny to combine the two," he said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. "It just kind of clicked."

And people clicked on it.

Local designer Jim Charlier posted the illustration to Facebook last week, where it has racked up more than 27,000 shares. It popped up on the Huffington Post's Instagram account and caught the eye of plenty of tastemakers, including comedian D.L. Hughley.

The best pic of @realdonaldtrump we've seen in awhile. Pic: @_theblessedone #cattrump

A photo posted by Huffington Post (@huffingtonpost) on Sep 24, 2015 at 7:13pm PDT

So what's next for Chuck, the Internet's latest feline fixation? Will his fame flicker out before the length of a catnap?

Not if Gelen has anything to say about it.

"After this thing took off, I started thinking, 'I've gotta incorporate that cat into everything I do.'"

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

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