Detail of Caitlin Hackett’s In the Aftermath
ballpoint pen, water color, colored pencil, ebony pencil and gesso; 56.4×67.2″

As a child, my librarian grandmother made sure I had ample supply of books, which thankfully included plentiful fairy tale books that I took to for life. One of the things that caught my eye and mind most were the illustrations of Arthur Rackham whose mysterious black spider-webby illustrations melted my senses further into whichever story was fascinating my imagination at the time.

Fast forward 30 years to this recent summer, I came across the work of newly graduated Caitlin Hackett. Caity seems to have channeled Rackham’s spirit into her work. Her flowing lines, often drawn with ball point pen not only remind me of my favorite illustrator’s work, but also mimic the familiar lines of nature: the grain of wood or flow of water. This and her muted color palette contrast wildly with violent and fantastical imagery creating wonderful dissonances. Her main subject matter comes from her childhood experiences with nature having grown up with redwood forests in northern California and her love of the fantastic worlds her child-mind invented during those times:

Ever since I was a child I always drew animals, and often I would invent species, going into great detail to create fantastical ecosystems for them, explaining how each aspect of their body helped them to survive in whatever world they lived in. I based these invented creatures both on real animals such as seals and bears, and also on mythological creatures. Growing up I was also exposed to a lot of local mythology, because the area of California I grew up in was also the traditional home of the Wiyot tribe, amongst many others. When I create my creatures now they come straight out of my head and may or may not end up representing my original idea once on paper, but this flexibility and transience in ideas is part of what makes it so enjoyable to make these monsters, they are never the same and they never come out exactly as I planned, much like the real world. Although I do not specifically or intentionally reference any mythology in my work now, I have certainly be influenced by it throughout my life, and those influences certainly have an affect upon, and show up in, my drawings.

Since graduating from Pratt, her work has been featured in six exhibits and her work is being picked up extensively by the blogosphere – she has even been featured here on the Brooklyn Art Project. Keep an eye out for this rising star and see her work in person whenever you can.

Caitlin’s work will be on exhibit for Anagnorisis Fine Arts in a solo show entitled, “Wilderness”, from February 5th through March 9th at the White Rabbit on Houston in New York City. You can view her work online here as well.

Opening reception:
Friday, February 5th
White Rabbit
145 E. Houston (btw Eldridge and Forsyth)

To boot, Caity will have affordable limited edition prints on rag paper available of her Masquerade drawing, each individually altered by hand. This will be a great opportunity to get some wonderful work for your walls!

Masquerade; ball point pen, micron pen, gold ink, colored pencil and water color

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