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The Kitten Covers was created by musician and designer Alfra Martini while home sick from her day job in October 2011. While sifting through online record catalogs, she pictured British musician David Bowie as a kitten. She chose the cover from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane, replacing Bowie’s face with a white kitten wearing similar makeup. Her boyfriend liked the images so much, he suggested she make more and start a Tumblr blog to showcase them.
Before the launch of the Kitten Covers, record album covers have been used in numerous photoshop memes and art projects, beginning in 2008 with the sleevefacing" photo fad, which involves masking one’s own face with a record sleeve. In August 2010, a single topic blog called Album Tacos began featuring photoshopped record covers in which the subjects are replaced with tacos and other Mexican dishes. In August 2011, another blog LIVE! began curating classic album covers in which the deceased were removed from the scenes.
The Kitten Covers was featured on Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger on November 3rd, 2011. The same day, the link was shared on MetaFilter. Over the course of November, photos from blog were featured on Vulture, Laughing Squid, animal blog PetSide, culture blog HelloGiggles, CBS News and NPR. On November 15th, TIME Newsfeed named the Kitten Covers the Tumblr of the Week. User-generated instances have also appeared on Tumblr with the tags “the kitten covers” and “kitten covers”, though the blog is not accepting submissions as of June 2012.
Alfra Martini was first interviewed about the Kitten Covers by Humor in America in February 2012. During the interview, she revealed that her boyfriend, Zachary Cale, is a record collector and plays a large part in choosing the covers she photoshops. She also stated that she had no idea the blog would attract so many viewers, with the pressure from her growing Tumblr follower count driving her to have “nightmares about kittens.” In a second interview with DC-based music blog Fuzzy Logic in April 2012, Martini noted that her favorite creations were the cat versions of Parliament’s “Mothership Connection” (below left) and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” (below right).
The Huffington Post – Album Tacos: Every Album Cover Is Better With A Taco