Paranormal Artist Profile: Bambi Khan
Featured artist Bambi Khan's eclectic background is exactly what we would expect from someone capable of producing such varied and interesting work.
"As far back as I can remember, I was drawing dragons and unicorns, strange chimera with little stories and anatomy," she told us.
"In 2005 I started tattooing, which really causes you to flex your artistic muscles in a lot of genres. It also keeps you drawing and creating every day," Bambi continued. "In 2014 I founded the Midwest’s first all-female tattoo shop, Jackalope Tattoo. In 2016 I kickstarted my first book, A Field Guide to: Dragons, Serpents, and Wyrms of the World, followed the next year by A Field Guide to: Unicorns and Mythic Beasts of Hoof and Horn, co-authored by Matthew Kessen of Reverend Matt’s Monster Science. I was unable to keep up both the tattooing career and the new career in publishing, so in 2018 I committed to art full time, sold the shop to one of the staff, and headed to Mexico to immerse myself in the next volume: Merfolk."
Of course, it's Bambi's interest in the paranormal that we found most attractive.
"I don’t know why anyone paints anything else, honestly," she said. "I really enjoy research and learning, and with most legendary animals you need to rely on what has been documented as references. So most of my animals and their life cycles are based off of a mashup of known creatures that I get to learn about. Ferreting out details, habits, and as many descriptions as possible is half the fun."
Although, as we've seen before, that interest doesn't always translate to having many experiences of her own.
"I’m a hopeful skeptic, in that I have never experienced anything paranormal in the traditional sense; despite some amateur ghost hunting in my teens and searching the night skies of North Dakota on the rooftops of old pickup trucks. Although I do have a lot of, shall we say...energies...laying around that I call gnomes and goblins. Glimpses out of the corner of my eye, misplaced items, pretty standard faerie stuff," explained Bambi.
She may be the first artist we've featured that has admitted to having a faerie presence in her life; something we'd love to hear more about, especially from a student of folklore like Bambi.
"I currently tend to skew in the realm of mythology, faeries, and dragons," she said. "Although I have a deep love of cryptids, I haven’t explored them in art as much as I would like. That’ll probably change."
We certainly look forward to seeing the work that develops if and when her interest shifts.
For now, though, her favorite monster falls in the realm of mythology, as Bambi told us its the "kappa: a polite Japanese monster who wants to steal the magical ball that lives in your butt."
But Bambi is also into much more than traditional mythology.
"I just read a bunch on Skinwalker Ranch, and I’m hoping to go through Utah when we travel from Baja to Minnesota this year, and see if we can catch some high weirdness,” she said. “I’m on to The Mothman Prophecies right now.”
We hope she finds some high strangeness in her travels, and look forward to any stories she may acquire as a result.
Bambi's advice to aspiring paranormal artists is precisely the kind of cool wisdom you'd expect from an adventurer.
"Make sure you make some time for yourself, and some sort of exercise: one you really enjoy. It’s easy to get caught up in art mode and lose sight of the bigger picture while destroying your neck and back. Moving your body lets your mind process the problems in the background. So while I’m trying to figure out if I should put a background on my painting of Melusine, I’m kitesurfing, flying on the trapeze, or lifting weights in the gym," she said.
Visit Bambi’s page in our art portal to find out how to follow her on social media, and be sure to visit her website to keep up with her latest projects—including her latest work, Merfolk and Curious Creatures of the Coast.
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