Pablo Picasso once said, “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
The artwork produced has something about the subject in it, an energy captured in the stroke of a brush or the click of a camera’s shutter. When we then view artwork, we take on the emotions captured ourselves, begin to feel through the subject and see its spirit.
Andreas Lie is an artist living in Norway who, through the use of digital double exposure, depicts a wide array of animals (a lot of the time, those that live in the landscape surrounding him) beautifully capturing their energy in a unique way.
The technique he uses marries the animal to its habitat, filling their physical body. Photographing both the creature and the landscape separately, he then digitally merges them, looking for similarities between the textures of the animals and the landscape they inhabit. Leaves, bark, and clouds blend with feathers, claws, and fur.
The finished work shows how these animals’ surroundings have become a part of them, just as they are a part of their surroundings. Many of the creatures have a rich history not only in the land but with the people with whom they shared that land. They appear in folklore and fairytales and demand respect from the people that share their habitat.
Here is a small selection of Lie’s collection, each animal’s spirit uniquely captured and displayed.
The colors of the auburn forest blend beautifully with the fox’s fur, the trees almost appear to be burning with the fiery spirit of the creature!
In Norse mythology, Ratatoskr is a squirrel that delivers messages by running up and down a tree known as Yggdrasil (the World Tree) which connects the nine realms. In this image, the tree-tops are prominent – the squirrel is king of his domain!
Early Norse shamanic warriors known as ‘berserkers’ would take the bear as their totem animal, and would wear a bear hide to represent their leaving the confines of humanity, becoming a ruthless and divine warrior.
Their power in the folklore of the people who shared their land is quite clear in this image, which shows a sprawling forest within the bear itself, perfectly encapsulating the presence and power of the creature.
The young fawn in this picture has a very different energy to it than a lot of the other animals we can see depicted in Lie’s collection. The timidity of the slightly lifted leg, the eyes wide with anticipation, as it tilts, the landscape titles with it, and the result is a delicate and quiet beauty. The white speckles across its body become sunlight dapples through the gaps in the trees’ canopy.
This gorgeous image seamlessly blends feathers and leaves – the owl becomes inextricable from its treetop habitat and the intensity with which it stares suggests that it is protecting its home, on the look-out for any threats that may befall the forest. In this image, the sky holds just as much importance as the trees, the owl finding power in flight.
Art has an incredible ability to depict something much deeper than the mere surface-value of a subject. It can make the subject powerful, exposing its energy to a world which may have otherwise overlooked it, missing out on seeing into the soul of a truly incredible being.