Feathery, Leathery, Bent: Adopt a Demon
Adopt a Demon
Kickstarter ending 4/4/2014
It happens, it happens all the time. One little seance, one ill-planned orgiastic ritual in the tunnels under the bell tower, and there they are: demons. One woman, Monica Knighton, has made it her mission to give them a home.
Adopt a Demon is a quirky, tongue-in-cheek art project by Austin artist Monica Knighton. You can tour through her work in her art blog, which is loaded with all kinds of storybook illustrations (…kind of, her sense of humor bubbles up constantly turns pretty pastorals into strange commentaries on art expectations), but her brief pen-and-ink gallery has a lot of fuzzy animals, too. She also makes engraved jewelry, very pretty stuff.
The adopt-a-demon conceit–the artist has ended up with a houseful of demons and would like to share them–runs through the entire project, video, rewards, etc. The entire page is witty and readable, a rare thing in the dollar-desperate genre of crowdfunding pitches, and a pleasant change!
As for the demons, they’re impressive and varied. Some of them capture the dark and baroque imagery of a 16th century grimoire, sombre and studded with strange symbols. Others have the charming dumbness of a children’s easy-reader. In the late 15th century scholars logically extrapolated that there was something on the order of 666×6,666x6x66 demons in hell’s legion, and then set out to build a catalog of weird and distinct characters to fill the ranks. So you get these somewhat random monstrosities, pieces and parts strung together, weirdness for the sake of weird, and Knighton realizes them very well.
Yay, bored academics!
Knighton, in her time, has done a lot of work for the Central Texas SPCA, and it shows. Of course it comes through in the joke itself, “give a demon a home!” but in the backstory and inspiration for the project, too. I asked her for a few words on the inspiration for the project. Besides her obvious love of the occult,
[…]I guess the inspiration came from my working for the Central Texas SPCA. I ran the place for about eight years and it was crazy and messy and challenging. One of the things the long-term volunteers saw was how people would adopt the more attractive animals. But the ones we loved were the oddballs. The pitbulls with chewed-off ears, the one-eyed cats and elderly gray-faced mutts with cataracts. One of my favorite dogs, Toby, had this insane underbite–think ‘Princess Monster Truck’‘–and he was the sweetest dog ever.
And so many people would not adopt BLACK animals. I can’t say it was superstition…more like black animals were dull or invisible, and only ones with colorful or white coats stood out…We got in the habit of calling the ones that got passed over our little monsters, goblins, precious demons of the pit…”
So, on the kickstarter itself–besides its unusual and surprising readability–there’s some familiar rewards tied into the weird backstory of the campaign. At its heart, the project is about the Lost Key to Infernal Spirits of the New World, a modern demonomicon of cute, horrid, and horridly cute beasties. Sort of a field guide to the infernal realms. Knighton has also reached into her jewelry kit to create an infernal talisman, although its efficacy in demonic wardings is not guaranteed. But it might keep your newly-adopted hellspawn off the sofa. Higher level donors can get their own, unique demon, custom-tailored to haunt their dreams and scare the cat.
So how about it? Do you have room in your soul for one of these little guys? Give a demon a home.
Note: Images used above are included to promote the work of crowdfunding artists, and are owned by the original creator.