Monday, August 16, 2010

Wolf Women, Deer Girls & Other Animal Spirits Brought to... Hair

What if Goldilocks and the bears weren't as far apart as we first thought?

Being that Rapunzel is so the 'fairy tale girl of the moment' I thought it'd be interesting to look up some art people have made with hair. I found one stunning picture of an 'animal hair hat' that instantly brought to mind tales and legends of women in animal form: fox women (some of my favorite dangerous fairy tale creatures), deer girls, were women of all types, shapeshifters and other 'Beastly Brides'.
It also provoked other questions like the one I wrote above: we know about shapeshifting in tales, they're prolific and we have many wonderful resources available discussing shapeshifting tales, BUT what if the traditional fairy tales (and legends) with animals and people interacting were also viewed through a shapeshifting lens? (A reminder that the new Datlow & Windling anthology The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People was released just a few months ago*. The Fairy Tale Cupboard has a lovely post HERE.)

I did a little investigating to find a) the 'hair hat' was created by well known Japanese artist (and Art Director) Nagi Noda and b) she'd actually created fifteen of them. Sadly, she died in 2008 from surgical complications (initial injuries were from a traffic accident the previous year) at the age of 35 but she left behind a very interesting body of work.
From the archives at CMYKaboom:
Let me tell you a little bit about Nagi Noda. Nagi is a Japanese designer, and dominating nominee for "Person I Would Most Care to be When I Grow Up." An art director who became known for her cutting-edge work in print design, Noda was soon drafted by the big boys, specifically, Nike and the famed Laforet. More recently, Noda has moved into video, where she has proceeded to sweep awards with her music videos and commercials.
Nagi Noda's work is simply stunning: based deeply in surrealism, she makes whimsical works that are as beautiful as they are mind-bending; whether it's costume bags or poodle aerobics or carnivorous flower bunnies. She is also so prolific with these new ideas it is liable to make ones head spin. (FTNH Please note: I had some difficulty with the links but am keeping them in the quote in case they work for you.)

While fashion shoots often get flack for 'artistically bared skin' this is one of those cases in which it makes sense (though it's rarely more than a bared shoulder or two in this case). I also like that some of the models' features match/blend subtly with their animals - beauty in all forms.

The official Nagi Noda website is HERE and you can see some more of her work HERE (and make sure to scroll down to the underground house and the animal shadows).

One more for fun (also a Nagi Noda creation):I like this one for its storytelling. Are we surpressing our inner natures too much? Or is it just as well we try to keep a grip on our wild sides? This is one of the conundrums fairy tales do a great job of exploring and a reason I adore shapeshifter tales.

*You can read the preface to The Beastly Bride anthology HERE.

Sources for images at CMYKaboom and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. Gorilla hands also found HERE (link also shows a couple of other wild hair sculptures)


  1. absolutely amazing find! hair sculpture at its most whimisical!

  2. Now, here's a great reason to grow my hair long! These are marvelous!!!

  3. A friend showed me these ages ago, i have been trying to find them again, thanks! aren't they magnificent!

    I love your blog, I just discovered it! I am a serious fairytale lover and writer!