Paranormal Artist Profile: Chris Nichols
April's featured artist Chris Nichols recently released the super cute children's book Counting Cryptids, and we were lucky enough to talk to him a little about his process and why he chose cryptozoology in particular for his latest work.
Chris started out painting wizards and fantasy monsters, and he's already released several kids books featuring fantastical creatures. For his latest book, Chris told us he wanted to help introduce children to a subject that can often be seen as frightening.
"I settled on the idea for the most recent book I made, Counting Cryptids, because I wanted to find a way to introduce kids to folklore/crypto creatures," explained Chris. "Most of them are based on stories that are dark and serious. I tried to think of what those creatures would do for fun, and I tried to incorporate a lighter version of the story in the illustrations too."
"[My work] is focused on characters heavily influenced on people and things in my life and creating worlds for them to explore and learn in," he said.
"I enjoy art that gives you a feeling of adventure. You just focus on it and absorb the piece and it takes you somewhere, art that makes you feel like an explorer in a deep, interesting world created by the artist."
Although Chris hasn't had any paranormal experiences himself, he has had a lifelong obsession with ufology and extraterrestrials. Most recently, Chris said he's found himself interested in mythology--something which forteans will recognize very much exists in our modern forays into the unexplained.
"As a child I was obsessed with UFOs and aliens. The concept of life from a planet other than earth fascinated me," Chris said. "The paranormal stuff I am most into recently are stories from ancient myths and legends; Unicorns, Dragons, Trolls, those kinds of things. Mostly stuff that has inspired modern high fantasy fiction."
"I really like Forest Trolls from Norse Mythology," he continued.
There's a natural progression from legendary creatures to modern cryptids; often expressed in how legends of fantastic beasts were informed by natural phenomena, and how they, in turn, informed the cultures which believed in them.
This interaction between a phenomenon and its observer is something that interests Chris.
"I love the myth of the siren of Lorelei Rock in Germany [a story about a spurned lover who haunts the site of her suicide]," Chris said. "I also enjoy the medieval artwork and stories about exotic animals, and how they were often exaggerated and made into terrifying beasts."
And if you enjoy Chris's work as much as we do, please make sure to visit his shop over at dramastikator.bigcartel.com. He has more exciting stuff on the way, and we'll make sure to keep you informed of his projects as they're produced.