Diad, the giant blue and orange ring-necked snake, laid coiled beneath the sofa in Ola’s Mount Vernon condo in Baltimore, Maryland. It was his second favorite spot at home - the first being just outside the kitchen pantry where snacks were accessible and the temperature toasty. Today was different though, Diad was beneath the sofa because he was given an important task - the large sack on the sofa needed to be guarded. The contents were valuable. It didn’t need to be guarded so much against someone stealing it, but more to prevent what was in it from getting out.
Ola’s was expected to speak at the counsel meeting and discuss the proposed course of action. She would only be gone a few hours and knew the sack and its contents would be fine under Diad’s watch, even though he wasn’t poisonous and tended to be quite docile.
Previous counsel meetings determined that Ola’s decision to meet the demands of the guardians of Inmost despite that it would break their code, should be reconsidered. Although the idea of not bartering with the living made Ola pleased, she also knew that this would not sit well with the subterranean fiends that provided them with their vital trades. She had mediated on this and discovered that the grootslang and the yaoguai would settle for nothing less than their demands. Alti had even warned the counsel that there was great danger on the horizon and to tread lightly. War could be upon them if they did not comply. The counsel had their best intentions in mind, but failed to put the proper emphasis on these cautions. It was too big of a leap for them to accommodate. The relationship the suvians had cultivated with the humans could not be so easily broken in the eyes of the counsel.
A compromise was determined. The counsel decided they would not give over a live human as barter for their goods, but with magic, temporarily animate a recently deceased corpse, giving it the appearance of life. The hope would be this may fool the Inmost lords, but at least appease them even if they were not fooled. Perhaps they would consider it more of a gift than a barter, and be pleased with the effort. After all, it had been ages since they were provided with human cadavers as barter and even longer since living humans were given. Road kill of all sorts was what they had become accustomed too for so long now, that it was hard to believe it had even been anything but.
The meeting concluded and Ola and Alti walked each other home. They spoke of their concerns. Ola told what she had discerned from her meditation and Alti described the dread he experienced when calibrating the totems. The freezing gusts of wind felt like bad omens. A foretelling of days to come.
Back at Ola’s home, Diad heard rustling coming from the bag above him. The burlap stretched within its limits and relaxed momentarily. A moan came from within it and Diad sprung to action. He hissed a lullaby - melodious, serene, and full of magic. The corpse drifted back to stillness until Diad would need to sing his song again. The exchange would happen tomorrow, so he would only need to work his magic another time or two.
I have been hard at work preparing for my upcoming show entitled "Unearthed Neighbors" at the Laughing Pint in Baltimore, Maryland. This is an exciting show for me because it will feature a variety of my illustrated work - some a little older and some quite new! Lots of Baltimore landmarks can be found in my illustrations as well as plenty of Baltimore monsters. Check out past Blog posts to find some matching stories for some of my art. Make it to the opening to see my work in person. Those that attend may even end up with a little take home gift. The Laughing Pint is a wonderful neighborhood spot that is a favorite haunt of some of Baltimores talented artists and writers.
Hope to see you all there!
Saturday, March 3, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Show runs March 3 - April 5, 2018
3531 Gough Street | Baltimore, MD 21224 410-342-6544
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 3:00 pm - 1:00 am
Link to Press Kit:
Born in Denmark in 1978, where he still lives and works, John Kenn Mortensen works in Children’s Television as a Writer and Director and also has a few credits as an Actor and even credits as an Animator, Editor, and Production Designer. None of these jobs are how I came to discover Mortensen’s work though. In what little spare time he has, John carves out time to create detailed illustrations in ink, of monsters and children on yellow Post-It notes. It is impossible to look at his work without seeing the strong influence Edward Gorey has on his style and creations. A dark sense of dread and even fear and sorrow that still manages to hold a powerful humor within the little illustrated terrors. Being a fan of Death Metal and dark experimental music, while still working in children’s television and being a father of fraternal twin’s (a boy and a girl), creates the perfect fodder for imagining the horrible situations his illustrated characters find themselves in. Mortensen has also worked in larger format illustrations, sculptures, and has his work in books that highlight some of his best MonsterDrawings. As usual is is difficult for me to find one piece from an artist to highlight, but I ended up picking one of his Post-It masterpieces titled There Is No Need To Stay Here. Creepy and grim with hint of humor. This also happens to be one of the few that seem to have been given a name. John’s larger illustrations are names, but It is difficult to find the name of any of his Post-It MonsterDrawings - perhaps because of the sheer number of those he has created, most end up nameless. John Kenn Mortensen is on a variety of social media, but he is the most active on Instagram (link below). Follow his work and fall in love. I am also linking his Bigcartel shop where he will post works for sale on occasion. I also suggest looking for his books for a wonderful treat!
As of October 2016, I intend to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I will post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I will highlight an artist whose work I like. Additionally, as of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine.