The art that Kruella creates is best viewed as a world, not separate to our own, but one that at times runs parallel and at times crosses over. It's these moments that it crosses over, when myth and reality are indistinguishable, that we become fully immersed.
Illustration has become a dime a dozen in the new hyper-connected internet age - good news if you want to get noticed, bad news if you want to stand out. Some really nice work can go unnoticed in a sea of similar style. Those that manage to transcend this are the ones that have their own styles, that are showing people something that they want to see or making them feel something they want to feel.
One such person is Kruella d'Enfer. Her artwork is fairly simple illustratively, deriving power from the key symbols that allude to a world of mythological entities. Words that often accompany her work are 'enchanted', 'fantastical', 'mysterious' and 'magical'. Those are certainly apt at conjuring up some ideas of what the work might be like – but there’s more to it.
Kruella's interest in folk tales, rituals and traditions is evident in her work - they blur the line between the historically-based and the likely fabricated. Having grown up in the countryside, her youth was spent surrounded by these tales. For her, it's a place to feel safe in the way that only childhood memories can make you feel. Witch tales and vast spaces might sound scary to some, but the nostalgia attached gives Kruella a feeling of comfort - portraying these innermost feelings just comes naturally.
By depicting the mysterious and fantastical, we are being invited into her world - one that she sees as oneiric, or related to dreams. At its very essence it's an invite to step back in time with a young Kruella, to retain the childlike curiosity and awe that once possessed her, and you. It’s a chance to embrace it in a new way that fits into your busy adult life.
The creatures in her illustrations are unique and dreamlike, but welcoming like the characters in a children's book. Her characters are beckoning you to hold their hand and follow their lead, but only so far – you’ve got to work out the path yourself, write your own journey through the images. Although heavily inspired by dreams and memories, you can't live hers faithfully, so instead she leaves you the necessary space to navigate yourself.
Animals and nature feature heavily, but that's not to say that the absence of people is the absence of humanity. Storytelling is important and these worlds are yours to explore, they're warm and inviting. The reality of dreams and nature is that it can be scary - for every flower that gives us tea, one gives us poison. Kruella rounds off the sharper edges, removing the erratic nature of dreams and makes them feel like it's somewhere you could coil up and fall asleep - they're the rare kind of dreams that you wish wouldn’t end.
You can know somebody intimately for a long time, but never know what goes on in their head - what they're really thinking. Kruella's work tells you just enough to make you interested, eager to find out more, but not quite enough to make it seem repetitive. That's the beauty of dreams, they're amorphous entities, stimulated by what's going on around. We'll never know what dream we're having that night, neither will Kruella - but at least her artwork gives us the option to voluntarily enter these worlds, whatever one it is you choose and whenever you choose to do so.
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