Friday, August 22, 2014

Manifesto - Make something beautiful

This picture comes from "A New Year's Present to the little ones from five to twelve. Part III." It's the first time a Santa was in a sleigh or had a reindeer. Such a simple picture but it changed the world and helped to inspire "The Night Before Christmas" which turned Christmas into a holiday about family, generosity, and wonder. 

These images of Christmas tapped into our need for fairytales and fantasy, and in so doing were able to transform multiple cultures and touch countless lives. As this work of art shows fairytales can be one of the greatest sources of inspiration, for few stories have transformed the world so much as fairytales and their descendants fantasy stories have. As with many of the greatest fantasy stories those that transformed Christmas built upon existing fairy lore. Santa, also called “jolly old elf” in “The Night Before Christmas” draws on older traditions with hundreds of stories of gift giving fairies. In Wales fairies would leave coins in people’s shoes, in other places they would bring luck, in still others they would bring food. Many have used the term escape to describe the function of a fantasy story, and while Tolkien has pointed out that escaping the drudgery of the world can be a heroic act the role of fairy tales and fantasy stories is far greater than that. Fairytales are an emotional and philosophical exploration of our inner selves. Fairy stories are also one of the best ways to help many people achieve psychological and emotional equilibrium, something that is necessary for peak productivity.

Perhaps most important what this illustration and the poem show us is that sparking someone's imagination through a good story can change the world, or at least improve someone's life. These stories and works of art give us moments of magic, help us feel better emotionally. It's been shown that the right picture can reduce depression, improve concentration, and more. 

Christmas Pixie, by Ty Hulse

Part of "Fairy Tales and Fantasy for Artists"
Index                 Next