Monsters, Myths and Mutations
Opening Reception June 30, 2023!
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 want to see gallery walls full of fun artwork celebrating monsters and mysterious creatures.
That’s why the Oddball Art Labs Summer 2023 show will be all about Cryptozoology.
The Artist Open Call is now live!
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.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology
No Hollywood monsters please!
We want 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 compels 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:
- Loch Ness Monster
- Skunk Ape
- Loveland Frog
- Steller’s Sea Ape
- Mongolian Death Worm
- Jersey Devil
Fearsome Critters (North America)
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
- Dover Demon
- Flatwoods Monster
- Lava Bear
- Nain Rouge
- Sewer Alligator
- Snipe Hunt
- Tuttle Bottoms Monster
Ten Cryptids You’ve Never Heard of
Some books you may find useful
- Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide to 50 Fascinating Beasts
- Chasing American Monsters: Over 250 Creatures, Cryptids & Hairy Beasts
- Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
- The Big Book of Monsters Volume One: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Myths, Folktales and Legendary Creatures
- Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology – Volume 1
- Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology – Volume 2
- American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America
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!
The show was made possible by a grant from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.