Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nick Kosciuk

I have just discovered this artist's work -- his paintings are on display at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, CO -- and am left disturbed and haunted. Nick Kosciuk uses fairy tale imagery to expose the fetishization of children; there are no direct depictions of acts of abuse, but you can see the abuse in the eyes and postures of the children. There is some horrible knowledge and fear in the eyes in "Butterfly in Red." And the painting of the adolescent standing, eyes closed, with a forest in the back, reminds me terribly (though perhaps without the artist's intention) of the visual of Lavinia after her assault in the wood, in Julia Taymor's Titus. Kosciuk's paintings are of children in eastern Europe, and the money he makes from his sales goes to support orphanages in Belarus.

The idea that fairy tales allow us to explore, in safe ways, the ramifications and psychology of abuse, rape, and other forms of violence or cruelty is nothing new, but I rarely see a contemporary artist conducting just that exploration in such a vibrant and chilling manner. The two paintings I've posted here on the blog are not Rosciuk's most beautiful or disturbing, so take a look at the rest at

Fairy Tale Statues

I am interested in collecting a list of statues around the world depicting fairy tales. Besides the famous examples (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens), here are some our editors have stumbled upon nearly or certainly by accident - to the left, the Troll under the bridge in Seattle. This one is an especial wonder to me, as I grew up on a small farm near Seattle - and my family did raise a number of billy goats gruff.

More wonders of wood and stone from Washington state: small families of Scandinavian trolls can be seen standing, brilliantly painted and four feet tall, by the streets in Poulsbo; someone on Hood Canal long since collected enough driftwood of the right shape to create a dragon or dragon-like sea serpent on a narrow spit of land, so that from a distance its coils appear to be rising from the water.

Are there other fairy tales in stone or wood or metal around America? Someone on our continent needs to make a project of creating something like the Sacro Bosco in Italy, which Vicino Orsini established in the sixteenth century.

The Sacred Wood is a garden-forest populated with fabulous creatures, some of them peering out from behind branches or small shrubs, many of them now clothed in moss or lichens -- a labyrinth garden where the lost might wander and wonder. You might sit in what appears a safe spot for a long hour before looking up to realize there is a stone dragon watching you through the branches.

Help us collect such sites.... Where have we made to carve fairy tales into the actual landscape on which we breathe and walk?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dragon on a Leaf

Some time back I stumbled across a painting on the Web depicting a red autumn leaf with an infant and extremely tiny dragon curled up in sleep on the leaf. The painting was beautiful, and (for me) captured something essential about the experience of wonder (finding, almost by accident, a dragon infant smaller than a thumbnail asleep among the leaves in fall: the painting is a haiku in color) - but for all of my quests on google, I am unable to learn the name of the painting or the artist, or find it again.

Maybe someone can help! Post a comment if the description of the painting sounds familiar.

Even if we don't find the painting, perhaps this post will spark a conversation on the evocation of wonder through small scenes, small details, small gestures toward the fantastic in art. No need to paint a Balrog in flames to produce awe....


Thursday, May 17, 2007


Welcome to the blog for Dante's Heart!

Dante's Heart ( is a biaunnual online journal that offers a venue for established and new writers and artists to share creative work that explores how myth and fairy tale define and are defined by the human experience(s). Check out our submission guidelines on the website. Issue 1 will launch in December 2007.

Dante's Heart also runs this blog as a forum for sharing thoughts and ideas on fairy tale, myth, and the experience of wonder. We look forward to hosting the Net's most active and thought-invoking forum on matters of the fantastic.

The Editors,
Dante's Heart