Unnatural Histories VII
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Stephanie Inagaki
Twin Flames, Fated Hearts
Charcoal and gold leaf
Framed 13.75” x 17”
Inspired by the Asian three legged crow, which represents the sun and is called - yatagarasu in Japanese folklore, I’ve created my own mythological creature mixed with my symbolism of corvids as love and loyalty. Sometimes you converge with people who you have an intense bond with, regardless of if it lasts a few weeks, a few years, or decades. Every star fades but if it’s a fated connection, it burns the longest shadows and scintillates the most radiant of flames. We are the sun and moons, waning and waxing. Coming to and fading out.

Alex Louisa
The Darkest
12 x12", Oil on wood
Albinism (and Leucism), though very rare, is still far more common in birds than black mutations. The idea of either fascinates me, but I chose to portray the darkest kookaburra. The unnatural colouring makes him look almost mystical, as if the sound of his laugh alone could leech all the colour from his surroundings. 

Allison Sommers
"I've Taken It For Granted"
Gouache with mixed media on panel-mounted paper, 12"x12"
“Rotty Dog
(canis lupus gelatinous)
Small in stature, or perhaps large enough for [illegible]
Likely found in and around ponds, marshes, &c.  
Keening cry punctuated by yawps and deep-throated articulations of ?
A diet comprised mostly of crab and crab-like or crab-resembling animals
Domestication status unknown, although some efforts to befriend have not resulted in violence
Weeping sores?”

Chris Austin
Seek What Sets Your Soul On Fire
16" diameter, acrylic on wood
Ignisweekeno, also known as the fire bear or bear of light, can be spotted throughout the Pacific Northwest coastal shores. Known to have poor eyesight, the fire bear enable their internal light to catch fish at night. In addition to their unique hunting abilities, they can also be spotted guiding diurnal creatures in need of a destination throughout the night.
In the animistic worldview of hunter-gatherers – in which all living things are imbued with spirit – these bears are respected as powerful, intelligent, curious creatures with almost human qualities.

Kevin Peterson
17"x30", oil on panel
She found herself in this place often. Something drew her here.
She came here to hide, yes, but other times too.
The others never came in here. She was part of the herd, but also different.
She had never seen the ones who built this place.

Alpay Efe
White Stag
16x16”, Oil on wood panel
White deers hold a place in the mythology of many cultures.
In many traditions white is the color of divinity and purity and white can also be the color of peace or of truce. In Celtic tradition, white is associated with the Other-world and After-life. The role of the white stag is often to lead the hunters to new beginnings, new places, and new insights and to new knowledge. It was something that could never be captured.
In Japanese mythology, a tale of two brothers hunting a white stag were said to split off in two directions - one going west, and the other east. The brother who turned east is said to have discovered Japan.


Kit Mizeres
Gouache on paper, 14"x11" framed to 21"x17"
"The Tanuki has always played a prominent role in Japanese folklore, serving as a shape-shifting trickster archetype, much like the Kitsune (fox). It is often told that they are able to change their form after placing a leaf or bone on their head, and are able to transform into anything ranging from inanimate objects to humans. They are actually based off of raccoon dogs, which are native to Japan, and they represent good fortune and prosperity."  

Troy Coulterman
Sacred Dung
Painted Resin, 9.5"x6.75" (Edition 1 of 2)
"Throughout history the dung beetle has been imbued with fantastical assumptions stemming from its lowly act of digging through turds and molding it into balls. Historians believe that ancient Egyptians associated the rolling of the dung ball to the celestial movement of the sun. We now know the ball represents a valuable treasure for the beetle: it will lay its eggs into the ball that will later feed its offspring. This behavior of the beetle is biologically meaningful. But still even today the dung beetle posses fantastical celestial abilities. As the beetle rolls its ball of dung it uses the sun, moon or even the Milky Way to navigate back to its nest (the only known instance in the animal kingdom). In "Sacred Dung" the ball of dung symbolizes the relationship between our celestial and material bodies. In history, the midnight sky that we have looked out upon has been a source of imagination for our mythological stories; however, in this instance it is what is below our feet, the tiny, the minuscule, that is the source of our wonderment and awe. "

Jon MacNair
"The Qilin"
India ink on paper in antique frame, 12" x 14"
The Qilin is a divine, mythical creature known in Chinese and other East Asian mythology. It is described as gentle and benevolent, despite the fierceness of its appearance. Most often depicted with the features of a Chinese dragon for the head, it is also known for having prominent antlers or horns as well. The body can be a conglomeration of deer, horse and ox characteristics (notably hooves as one of these traits), often with the addition of fish-like scales covering all or part of the body. This magical creature has been said to appear just before the birth or death of a sage or preeminent ruler.

Brin Levinson
"The Messenger"
oil on panel, 15" x 22"
While surviving the wilderness alone, listening and searching.
Something did pass by silently.
Taking all the shiny things deep into the trees.
Seeing so far, even beyond the horizon, into the future.
Reaching the heavens effortlessly, bringing messages from places unknowable.
It saw you a long time ago and knows how you struggle.
Lost, grasping at anything that may be a sign.
There are answers.
Maybe it will leave you something when you need it.

Ariel Bowman
The Erymanthian Boar
Ceramic, mixed media, 20’’h x 18’’w x 13’’d
The myth of Hercules and the Twelve Labors inspired this piece. Many of these labors involve conquering, capturing, or killing a monstrous animal, and I have always been intrigued by the human tendency to prove strength and intelligence by overcoming animals. I chose to depict the Erymanthian Boar, the great savage boar that Hercules must capture alive for his fourth labor. In the story, the animal which is said to fear no one is caught off guard by Hercules, and as it runs away is sunken into a snowdrift where he captures it easily.
Though inspired by the idea of the mythical boar, this sculpture is meant to reinvent this mythical animal with natural history. The Entelodont, also known as the “Hell Pig”, was a prehistoric pig relative that stood over seven feet tall and lived in North America, Europe, and Asia between 37-16 million years ago. I was fascinated by the animal’s ferocious aspect. It had a fantastical set of teeth and tusks, bulky body, and thin limbs, with an elongated snout. This piece replaces the weak boar of the myth with a true terror that would have defeated any human opposition. The display furniture is terracotta with black slip designs to mimic the ancient Greek pottery that depict myths like this one.

Rachel Sabin
Oil on canvas, 12"x16",
"Beneath the Great Lakes stirs Mishipeshu, maker of waves, of undercurrents and rapids and all dangers of deep water. With the body of a lynx and copper horns and serpentine tail, Mishipeshu knows only Thunderbird as his equal and enemy. The Ojibwe tribes of Canada respect and fear this great beast, and are wary of water's edge and silent upon passing. The Algonquians, too, and the Innu: all near-lake dwellers speak of his power, of his ability to create storms and drown the insolent. He is there, beneath the water, waiting. "

Danny Samuels
"Tempest in a Teacup"
Mixed Media, 5" x 9"
Below the surface a creature is sleeping,
out of sight as your water is steeping.
You will try to light your way,
but out comes the kraken to ruin this day.
Your morning routine turns to destruction and doom,
and without your tea comes a Monday of gloom.
“Why would you do this you beast of dread?
I guess with that I must return to bed…….”

Chase Mullen
Ye Ren
Acrylic on Wood Panel, 16" x 20"
Its a crisp evening in Urumqi, a city in the Xinjiang province of China, and the streets are filled with music and colorful ribbons. Marigolds and lotus root are scattered in baskets across doorsteps and granite alters throughout town. Children wear painted masks and call upon their parents to join them in street, to follow the masses to the city limits and the valley of Nanshan.
Once a year locals gather to celebrate Jiérì Ye Ren, a local festival surrounding the legend of China’s “wild man”. For centuries, Ye Ren has been perceived as ancient wisdom and guardian of the valley, often thought to be sacred. Offerings are brought to shrines near caves and mountain valleys to ensure healthy crops and prosperity for the year. During this time, long-tailed Macaques comes from mountains and high forest to plunder from the piles of fruit and sweets. Their calls can be heard all throughout the night of the festival, until the moon reaches its highest point in the sky, a silence sweeps across them all at once.

Christina Mrozik
Bearer of Obscurity
Gouache & Graphite on Paper, 14.75" x 18.74"
When we do not know the answer to the burdens we carry, they sit, tangled on our backs. A growing mess of uncertainty, weighing down our decision making abilities. Often, the weight of this mass creates the compulsion for change, unable to sit any longer in the hurt. When we jump, we take flight for a moment into the unknown, but nothing can stay in the air forever. It is the information learned from having to carry that burden that becomes our very feet, our way to land on the ground again; a newly formed knowledge that although we carry mistakes, it is on those memories we learned to walk stronger. The Bearer of Obscurity is this experience in corporeal form, and when we see it flying about, we remember the flight of our own uncertainty.

Kim Slate
The White Tiger of the West
clay, gouache, 6"x6"x6"


The White Tiger of the West is one of the four symbols of the Chinese Constellations, representing Metal and the autumn season. It is considered the king of the beasts, and is a guardian and protector from enemies and evil spirits.

Sarah Joncas
'La Llorona'
14x14", oil and acrylic on panel
In Mexican folklore, 'La Llorona' is rumoured to be the spirit of a woman grieving over the loss of her drown children and now cries while searching for them in the river, causing misfortune to those who encounter or hear her.
I had first heard of the folklore as a teen while delving into the meaning behind a song titled 'La Llorona', which was featured in the 2002 film 'Frida'. I enjoyed both the Lila Downs and Chavela Vargas covers of the song and thus became fascinated by the legend as well.

Sol Whiteside
The Queen's Beast
Ink, Acrylic, Oil, Marker Pens, Graphite , 16"x24"
Unseen and unheard by ordinary folk, the Elfin queen sat amongst her pack in the deepest part of the forest.
Skin white as snow, her reflection brightened the trees around them, revealing a curious mouse.
Startled by the new arrival, the queens beast raised its head and roared with displeasure at the little mouse, who didn't run. With its nose held high, it sniffed the clear air before slowly clambering over the queen's robes and settling amongst the bears warm, silky fur. It was after-all, a very cold day.

Allison Bamcat
“Kappa Kappa”
Acrylic on Panel, 14"x18"x1.5”
The Kappa is a cryptid from Japanese folklore, resembling a small man with a turtle shell on its back, webbing on its hands and feet, plus a sharp beak. The Kappa typically resides in rivers and lakes and is rumored to drown unsuspecting animals and humans. However, the Kappa is an honorable creature, for if you bow to it, it will always bow back, spilling the water from the bowl-shaped recess on top of its head. Should the Kappa lose all the water on its head, it will surely die. Another way to buy time when confronted with a Kappa is to toss it a cucumber, supposedly the monster’s favorite food!

Stan Peterson
Green Flash and White Giraffes,
Carved and painted basswood on birch panel, 23”x 36”x3”
As the nature of “Natural” changes, so does our perception. The green flash on the the ocean’s horizon is an instantaneous moment.
Almost a miracle. The Northern Lights are more consistent, yet not apparent in our immediate hemisphere. As the climate changes there
is a migration north, towards a cooler, wetter environment. Adaptation occurs.
So it only seemed natural to witness a group of white giraffes striding through the tides at sunset on the Oregon coast. They had left their spots behind when the sun became too intense. Now they follow the whales north, surviving on coastal scrub trees along the shore.
Perhaps it requires a “green flash” to observe them. They are quiet and elusive, blending into the constant spindrift at sunset.