Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Vampire a Day... Vampire Fantasies: Our Perception of Vampires and Related Myths

Introduction to Vampire Fantasies

Our fascination with vampires does not start with Edward Cullen (Twilight Saga), Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) or Vampire Lestat (Interview with a Vampire). It doesn’t start with Forks or New Orleans, but with an enigmatic, far-away place called Transilvania (or Transylvania, using the English spelling), which is a region in a country called Romania, the homeland of the original vampire--Count Dracula.
"Three Crosses in the Land of Vampires" by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Dracula goes by many names: Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, or Prince of Darkness. Ever since his death his legend continues to live, surpassing centuries and generations. Dracula is the original vampire, the one that started our fascination with this creature of the night, the dark predator whose very survival depends on bloodshed and, ultimately, death. Human death.

These characteristics of the vampire have transformed and resurrected, becoming trends of the fictional vampire--the vampire as a source of inspiration for our creative selves. Throughout the years, the vampire character has also evolved: from a hideous monster to a fabulously beautiful one who ís even capable of human-like feelings; from a selfless predator, to a hero, even a protector of human life; from a creature of darkness, to one who can survive natural light; from a solitary individual, to someone who blends in perfectly and lives among humans in modern society, etc.

Yet, some things remain the same when it comes to vampires: their blood-thirst, their super-human powers, the crucifix, the wooden stake, and, still, natural sunlight. But while in the past these... beliefs used to fuel our fear of vampires, nowadays, they add to our fascination with vampires, to our intrigue and desire to get to know them better, and, quite possibly, to fall in love with them. Still, the vampire myths and beliefs make the foundation of the vampire, as character, as art subject.

Art becomes a vehicle through which we express our feelings, beliefs and myths surrounding our ongoing relationship with these creatures of darkness. Here are a few of my own visual interpretations of the fabulous, fantastic and enigmatic vampire character.