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A Suburban Fairytale

Birds have been part of my everyday life since I was a little girl. I love everything about them, most especially their intelligence, beauty and song. My close tie to birds is about as difficult to describe as my need to make photographs. It is a need rather than a want, and my passion for making art is part of my being, perhaps what I was meant to do.

I wasn’t planning on seeing the mansion the day I did, it was happenstance, a generous offer to venture inside a house originally built around the time of the American Revolution. Not much was yet restored to its original glory. I was drawn to one room decorated with fantastic Chinoiserie style wallpaper covered with hand-painted florals and intensely hued exotic birds. From the moment I stepped into that room I couldn’t stop thinking about the birds. That same day the concept for Oiseaux Vigilants, A Suburban Fairytale took shape.

This painted flock flaunts their independence and quirky personalities. A virtual volary of more than 40 fantastic birds, they quickly communicated their desires and intentions to me. Fully fledged, they wait until the sun goes down to flee precarious roosts, to venture through abandoned rooms and cavort with things from the past.

About the Book

When artists collaborate, exciting things happen. When Lydia Gnau agreed to pen a story about the girl and the birds, I had no idea what would come of it, and how the narrative would unfold. Lydia embraced the photographs and developed a tale that resounded with empathy, truth and desire. Through her words, the fairytale comes alive, evolves and eventually takes flight. To possess the talent to express emotions about a group of still pictures using words is enviable. To tie those words together into a cohesive tale is a delightful gift.

Creativity comes from many places—a chance meeting, perhaps a spark of an idea might take on a life of its own—this is the way an artist lives and thinks, always moving forward, discovering and uncovering hidden meaning. It’s wonderful really, and often hard to explain—the joy of creating art.

Wendy Erickson