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Monsters, Myths and Mutations
:Cryptozoology Edition

Opening Reception

Friday, June 30, 2023
Hours: 6pm-9pm

The Robin and Mark Seigle Gallery at Elgin ArtSpace Lofts
51 S. Spring St.
Elgin, IL 60120

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Closing Reception

Saturday July 29, 2023
Hours: 10am-2pm

The Robin and Mark Seigle Gallery at Elgin ArtSpace Lofts
51 S. Spring St.
Elgin, IL 60120

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Featuring these Artists

Additional Photo Galleries

Our thanks to Sara Peak Convery for the comprehensive photo galleries she uploaded to facebook of the opening night:

Monsters and the unknown have always been a favorite subject of artists and storytellers throughout the centuries. Depictions of mysterious creatures from strange lands can be an amazing source of creative inspiration.

We’ve got a gallery full of fun artwork celebrating monsters and mysterious creatures.

That’s why the Oddball Art Labs Summer 2023 show is all about Cryptozoology.

Monsters, Myths and Mutations (Cryptozoology Edition)

…wait a minute?! What is Cryptozoology?

Wikipedia defines Cryptozoology as: a pseudoscience and subculture that searches for and studies unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose present existence is disputed or unsubstantiated, particularly those popular in folklore, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, the chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, or the Mokele-mbembe. Cryptozoologists refer to these entities as cryptids, a term coined by the subculture. Because it does not follow the scientific method, cryptozoology is considered a pseudoscience by mainstream science: it is neither a branch of zoology nor of folklore studies. It was originally founded in the 1950s by zoologists Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson.

No Hollywood monsters please!

We wanted to challenge everyone to pull strange creatures from folklore and unverified sightings.  (“Bonus points” for local folklore or legends from your ancestral country of origin!)

Since we will have a full year to put together this show, Oddball Art Labs plans to expand this exhibit with a full “museum” display of fabricated “proof” of the existence of some of these amazing creatures. Plaster casts of giant feet, fuzzy photos taken in the dead of night, desiccated creature remains, and other fabulous finds will be presented from the “archives” of a fictitious 19th century female heiress/adventurer who scoured the globe in search of these amazing, hidden creatures.

Knowing full well that Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience compeled us to place a placard in the museum display reminding visitors that no matter how “compelling”, “convincing” or “upscale” the presentation of finding may be, true scientific method always welcomes careful observation, rigorous skepticism, open peer review, and a refinement of knowledge as information is uncovered.

Lists of Inspiration

We wanted to help get your imaginations going, so here are some amazing references we’ve found on the internet. I’m sure the list will expand as we find more goodies.

Lists of Cryptids

Obvious options for cryptid artwork:

Fearsome Critters (North America)

Fearsome Critters

American folklore creatures

  • Dungavenhooter, a crocodile creature with no mouth and huge nostrils. The creature uses its tail to pound loggers into a gaseous vapor, which it then inhales for sustenance
  • Fur-bearing trout, a species of trout that grows a thick fur coat for warmth in cold climates
  • Hodag, a creature of the Wisconsin swamps possessing horns and spines.
  • Hoop snake, a snake that bites its tail to enable it to roll like a wheel
  • Jackalope, a rabbit with the antlers of an antelope or deer
  • Jersey Devil, a predatory creature that inhabits the pine forests of Southern New Jersey
  • Splintercat, a legendary cat of the Pacific Northwest that uses its incredible speed and stiff forehead to smash into large trees, knocking the branches off and withering the trunks
  • Squonk, an animal, saddened by its deformed countenance, cries incessantly and even dissolves into tears if seen
  • Whirling Whimpus, a gorilla-like monster with large arms and horse-like hooves, with the ability to spin around into a small tornado to catch prey

Field Guide to Illinois’ Fantastic Beasts

  • The Enfield Horror
    1940 – Southeastern Illinois
  • Lake Michigan Sea Serpent
    1893 – About a mile offshore, roughly Wilmette to Hyde Park
  • Giant birds
    1977 – Central and southern Illinois
  • Abominable Swamp Slobs
    1973 – Carbondale area
  • Giant Black Panthers
    1969 – Decatur area
  • The Cole Hollow Road Monster
    1972 – Peoria area
  • The Wolfman of Chestnut Mountain
    1980 – Galena area

American Legendary Creatures

Ten Cryptids You’ve Never Heard of

Cryptid Museum 

Some books you may find useful

We’re just getting carried away

Hopefully you get the idea of what we want for this show and you are feeling inspired! We can’t wait to see your Cryptid inspired art in July 2023!

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The show was made possible by a grant from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.