|Krampus; Austria's bad cop paired with good cop, St. Nicolaus.|
American mythology seems sentimental and flaccid in the face of that of other great cultures of the world. Our Santas and Easter Bunnies are cute and cuddly, our July 4th all fireworks and hotdogs. Most of our holidays have been reduced from a celebration of shared social values to a mere theme for celebrating the values we really care about- sales at the mall.
Maybe it's because I grew up in the Culture of Distraction, but I am deeply moved by the appearance in Austria at this time of year of Krampus, a terrifying Christmas monster that for hundreds of years has been scaring Austrians into behaving better. Apparently it works, too. Wow- we could sure use some of that around here!
It is through our fears and dark places that growth comes, which is why so many of my sculptures are dark in theme. Fear is one portal to self-enlargement. Dark images scare us in order to illuminate the alternatives. If we will only take the bait we might find our way to the light.
More Krampus images here.