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Tallulah Cunningham is a young Australian artist studying Natural History Illustration. She hopes that her artwork will inspire others to see the natural world as she does - fragile, fascinating and worth going out of the way to protect. Surprisingly, the artist hated reading until the age of six when, in Africa, her mother introduced her to the worlds of E. Nesbit, Narnia and Wind in the Willows. Since then she has spent most of her life in libraries, especially fascinated with a combination of zoology, cryptozoology, mythology, obscure faerie tales and folklore.
Inspired by the esoteric nature of her reading and environment, Tallulah's depictions of the fantastic often merge climates, cultures, costumes and creatures. The settings realms where all places overlap and travel between worlds is just a step sideways. She has been greatly inspired by the work of zoological authors Gerald Durell and David Attenborough as well as the usual slew of fantasy by E. Ibbotson, T. Pratchett and M. Lackey. Of artistic inspiration there are too many sources to name so she doesn’t attempt to, apart from pointing out the window at the world outside.
Regarding Bookwyrm she says, "Western dragons are usually flame-breathing and Eastern dragons are rain gods – neither particularly forgiving on paper. Yet I have always associated dragons with books. Their longevity and reputed wisdom is similar to that which is potential in a book. The darker side of the coin is possessiveness – books naturally form collections, like sheep join flocks, and we can be greedy for acquisition of them.
Knowledge is a form of power and large personal libraries are probably still, subconsciously, associated with wealth – a remaining mindset from when paper was a luxury item. I personally find a sense of empowerment when I give away books and that is one of the things that attracted me to BookCrossing – not only that those books might inspire others but also that I am no longer weighed down by them as possessions any more. I hope this design inspires those that see it to free up their lives and their own hoards - to enjoy their books and pass on those they no longer need."
Tallulah currently lives in Newcastle Australia with two cats, an elusive Bluetongue lizard and a growing number of strawberry plants.
16" x 11" (40 x 28 cm), pencil and watercolor