In Neil Gaiman’s American Gods migrants bring the gods to America with them; Odin arrived with the first Viking explorers, the piskies arrived with a Cornish maid, Anansi the spider god arrived with slaves from West Africa. Through the strength of their beliefs migrants gave life to their gods in the New World. When artist Aaron Pocock arrived in Australia from the UK 10 years ago he opened his suitcase and the mythical inhabitants of an entire European woodland spilled out; dragons, treemen, tooth-fairies and gnomes- and he has been exorcising them every day since. Check out these magnificent line drawings to see what I mean.
Quite something, huh?
Aaron’s self-taught, having started drawing and copying images of his favourite comic book heroes when he was a kid to entertain himself and his classmates. Aaron has said he would often retreat into his own world to escape feelings of awkwardness and not really fitting in while growing up. C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books in particular had a big impact on Aaron, an influence which can clearly be seen in his vivid depictions of anthropomorphized animals and enchanted woodlands.
What really stands out about Aaron’s art (besides the awesome) is the benevolent spirit which pervades it; the trees are gnarled but they don’t really loom; his dragons are big but they're not what you'd call menacing. When we started looking for an Australian artist to design the Trollwood logo Aaron topped the list, not just for his obvious technical ability but because of his philosophy, that fantasy is as much about wonder as it is about danger. And when he delivered the logo it captured so many of the things we're trying to achieve with Trollwood it was eerie. Fae-touched even.
When I mentioned I was writing a blog series called "Australian Gods" and wanted to include him Aaron quickly made light of his abilities. He is nevertheless (and without doubt) one of the gods of modern Australian fantasy and it is my pleasure to invest him in our pantheon. New gods are, after all, still gods. Deny them at your peril.
Interview with Aaron to follow.
(Australian Gods, Part 2)
I'm excited to announce that Trollwood now carries a wonderful range of Aaron Pocock art prints that can be purchased either as print-only or pre-mounted on high quality matboard ready for framing. Find the whole collection >here<.