Holiday Piece of the Week: ‘Krampus’ by Jimiyo
Christmas is an enormous holiday that hangs over the entire year. If I catch a glimpse of a red and green bathing suit in the dead heat of August, I think Christmas. It can’t be helped. The visual touchstones of the holiday are culturally deep.
Jimiyo’s design, “Krampus” goes another route, deep into the European folklore of the holiday. The creature, Krampus himself, is the dark shadow of the Turkish bishop, Saint Nicholas. In Germanic lore Saint Nick rewarded the well-behaved children with gifts during the Christmas season, while at his side was Krampus, who would punish and even capture the naughty tykes of the Alpine countries, hauling them off to the Black Forest.
Jimiyo’s “Krampus” shows a wonderful appreciation for the design elements and history of the tale. The artist shows Krampus, the pagan “devil”’ with his wicker basket full of horrible children and his fist of branches of birch for smacking the backsides of these troublesome offspring. He captures the allure of the beast as well as the menace.
There’s classicism in the drawing as if it could have been an illustration for a children’s book of the 16th century. The artist creating an image meant to scare off children from committing despicable acts, or else. The beauty of this piece is two-fold, it is at once in the spirit of the holiday season and also a design that can be worn or shown year round. It brings a bit of that old country fear to our modern world.