Mostly known for her sweet and earnest children’s book collaborations with Sara O’Leary, I find Julie Morstad’s personal work more intriguing. Without the constrains of a manuscript meant for kids, her drawings become eerie fairytales where a house fall on a little girl and a man snips the wings off another man’s back. Her work has been compared to Edward Gorey and Marcel Dzama, but I can see Amy Cutler being an older cousin.
I’m not sure what her symbolism is about, but the reoccurring imagery includes many butterfly wings (on people, as masks, as kites…), piles of objects, and characters dancing. Hair is also very important. On every one of her characters, every strand is drawn to perfection. In one semi-disturbing drawing, a boy in handing some very long hair, still attached to a woman (her back turned-maybe she is his mother?) to a couple. A little girl is crouched below the table at which the woman is seated. Is this about adoption? Am I thinking to literally? I don’t know. But I know I feel something when I look at it and want to wonder more. I think that means it’s good! You can get a copy here. And about her first monograph here.