Artist Anna Fidler vamps up the Boise Art Museum

Artist Anna Fidler vamps up the Boise Art Museum

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Anna Fidler is a young artist straight from Portland, Ore. Her work portrays vampires and other majestic creatures like werewolves. Fidler’s “Vampire and Wolf Men” exhibit is currently on display at the Boise Art Museum.

“I loved reading books about vampires,” Fidler said.

Her first exposure to her obsession with the paranormal was in high school. She mentioned a particular fondness for “Interview With a Vampire,” by Anne Rice.

“The legend of the vampire is of particular interest to me due to the subject’s innate romanticism,” Fidler said.

At the beginning of her career as an artist, Fidler spent her talents on detailed embroidery. A single piece would often take her a year to complete. At this time her thoughts often lingered on the idea that playing music could be related to mind reading; everyone was feeling the same energy. She moved to Portland in 1995, and she decided to trade in her sewing needle for colored pencils.

“I happened to go to the Pittock Mansion on the iciest snowy day. ‘What I saw was icicles, caution tape… it looked haunted; I loved that. I thought, ‘what if there were vampires living on the hillside of Portland?’” Fidler said.

She returned to the mansion with two models and one of her photographer friends to try and capture that vision, but instead she found something more moving.

“During the photo-shoot I saw this amazing photo of Henry Pittock. There was something about this photograph that changed my vision,” Fidler said. “Henry Pittock looked very much like a vampire at age 25.”

Fidler then bombarded the Oregon Historical Society looking for more old photos of those who resembled vampires. Most of the works were based off pictures from the Victorian era to the 1910s and 1920s. The only image based off a photo of a still living person is that of JoAnn Amorde, who ran for Miss America in 1947.

Fidler’s whole series is compromised of reinterpretations of vampires. She imagined these figures living extraordinary, mysterious lives and hoped to capture that mystery within her pieces. Her process consists of drawing
photographs she retrieved from the Oregon Historical Society,  and then copying and blowing these drawings up until they were big enough to transfer into the very large final print. Following this, she paints the backgrounds with acrylics. Lastly, Fidler, with the help of her assistants, hand draws on topography with colored pencils.

“You wouldn’t believe how many colored pencils we’d go through,” Fidler said.

To her surprise, when Fidler first showed this body of work, the Pittock family came to the opening.

“The Pittock family became aware of what I had done. They enjoyed this reinterpretation of their past, so I got lucky,” Fidler said.

Currently, Fidler is working on a new body of work with Victorian themes, although she was very hesitant to mention any specifics.

Anna Fidler’s “Vampire and Wolf Men” exhibit will be at the Boise Art Museum from Feb. 1 to May 25.