The "Tale" Of Grimm's Faerie Cinderella

I was recently interviewed about my piece “Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella” by an art student, and since I have actually been asked quite a few questions by different inquisitive minds regarding this piece recently, I thought I would share a little more information about what went into the making of Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella with those of you interested in knowing more about it and my musings on faeries, fairytales and of course…Cinderella! I enjoyed answering these questions and retelling a bit of the story that went into creating Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella. (Good luck Emily!)

Q. What were your main inspirations for ’Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella’? “I initially created Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella for an art contest that was being held by an online art group that I’m a member of known as, “Faerie World”. The contest rules were to create a piece of art portraying any Brother’s Grimm fairytale, but with one unique twist…the artwork needed to include a fairy or faeries. I specifically chose to create Cinderella out of many fairytale possibilities because of a few very personal sources of inspiration. My idea to create Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella was initially sparked by a very old clock that I inherited from my Great Grandmother. The magic coach that you see in the background of my painting of Cinderella is actually based on a real European timepiece that was passed down to me by my Great Grandmother. I remember seeing this clock in her house when I would visit her and it always held a very special meaning to me. Every time I looked at it I couldn’t help but to think of the story of Cinderella, which was always one of my most favorite fairytales! In this composition I actually started with the coach first and then I built and created everything else around it. Cinderella herself takes center stage, as she should, but my composition derived its very form and shape all anchored around the placement of the magic coach. My Great Grandmother was also a very strong source of inspiration in this work for me because of how special she was to me in my life; to me she represented grace, class, wisdom, humor and an eternally youthful spirit. I remember before she passed away, (near her 104th birthday) that she was still cracking jokes with levity, which cemented to me the important role that humor and a positive perception plays in life. My Great Grandmother survived the great depression and my not so distant relatives escaped and survived deadly Nazi regimens in Europe and I really feel that’s because they held onto a positive attitude despite negative circumstances, much like the heroine in Cinderella. To me, including my Great Grandmother’s coach clock in my artwork was like including my Great Grandmother herself in my painting. Creating this piece helped me to imagine my Great Grandmother alive again and the way I purposefully created Cinderella to be, happy, full of life and with the fulfillment of her dreams coming true. I guess I wanted to give new life to my Great Grandmother again through my artwork, by marrying something special of hers, (her old coach clock) and something special to me (the story of Cinderella) together.”

Q. What were your intentions before creating the piece? “Both my creative goal and my personal challenge with this piece was to add faeries to the already very well known and classic fairytale of Cinderella in such a way, that it might seam like the faeries were always a part of this story. It was important to me to remain true to the Brother’s Grimm version of Cinderella, since I grew up reading their fairytales and I have a lot of respect for their work, but I wanted to add faeries to Cinderella in a way that would seam as if the Brother’s Grimm had written them into their story themselves. In the Brother’s Grimm version of Cinderella the two birds that you see sitting in the tree were actually responsible for “throwing down the gold and silver ball gown” to Cinderella. So I knew before I created this piece that I wanted the birds to be included, (along with the magic tree that her Mother was buried underneath) but I also knew I wanted to convey that the faeries played a major role in bringing the magic to life in this fairytale. In my Grimm’s Fairie Cinderella I am suggesting that perhaps the faeries worked with the special white birds and that the faeries were the ones that literally brought the beautiful gold and silver dress to Cinderella dressing her in it and wrapping it all around her with their magic touch.”

Q. Does this piece have any hidden meanings? (For example, social/cultural issues) “No it doesn’t. I wanted my interpretation of Cinderella to create an engrossing departure from reality for my viewers. To me if a fairytale does contain a “moral” or it touches on “cultural/social” issues I prefer that they be an afterthought that I can discover later, upon a second glance or read. I think that if a fairytale does have a hidden meaning that’s the least important aspect of it, because a fairytale in it’s essence should be a highly creative and unusual story that takes it’s audience on a wild ride! A fairytale is supposed to be incredulous, and the fantastical world that a fairytale brings to life should always be the most important and first goal of the story. I also think that a really good fairytale should always be a means of escape from the everyday and normal life. That’s why I believe fairytales exist, because we need them, we need an escape from the sometimes dark and dreary reality that we live in. Fairytales are special stories where anything becomes possible and nothing is as it should be. I feel that fairytales have an ability to help open people up to dreaming, believing and ultimately creating more. The more fantastical the fairytale or story is, the more it can potentially help lead people to embracing the power of dreaming, believing, hoping and creating in their own lives.”

Q. "What kind of emotional response does your piece convey to people? “I believe my Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella conveys an emotional response of joy and hope to its viewers. Cinderella is an underdog story about hope, and hope always brings joy along for the ride. Through a series of unfair circumstances Cinderella is forced to become a slave, but she happens upon a little help from some unlikely allies and a few unique miracles that completely change her life! In my piece I wanted to capture the very moment in Cinderella’s life when it dramatically changes for her, through her facial expressions and the magical events that you see unfolding all around her. I want my Grimm’s Faerie Cinderella to transport people deep into a world of fantasy where they can become caught up in wonderment and joy, even if only for a moment.”

Check out the online art group Faerie World here

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