For the 2015 gallery exhibit ‘In Reference,’ Evil Tender commissioned photographer Holly Burnham to take a series of photos of model Hattie Watson, the final images were then given to a roster of artists to use as reference material for their own work.
For her piece, Illustrator Anne Benjamin created ‘Tuvstarr and Longleg Leap,’ a poster that takes its name and inspiration from a Swedish fairytale. ‘Tuvstarr and Longleg Leap‘ is a story of innocence – the journeys it can take you on, and the trials that take it away. It is a story of a young princess who wishes to be play freely, away from the confines of castle life and of her royalty. This young princess, Tuvstarr, meets the elk Longleg Leap, wandering through the meadow. The elk guides Tuvstarr through the wood, along the way meeting deceitful elves who take off with her crown, a thieving witch who steals her white dress, and finally a pond, where a nude Tuvstarr loses the golden heart given to her by her mother, the last trinket of her life as a princess. It’s this last moment that Benjamin illustrates beautifully.
Benjamin places Watson in the role of Tuvstarr, now free of her royalty, her dress, and of the everyday world. She is at her task of gazing into the water, in search of her lost golden heart. Longleg Leap leaves the princess, his role done, now she is to be watched over by the forest. The spell Tuvstarr is under will keep her at the water and as she grows old, she will become a slender plant, a carex cespitoza, the Swedish tuvstarr, a slim reed with a tufted head of cotton.
Benjamin’s poster captures the heart of this this story, literally, in a nutshell. The acorn in the role of the forest, an emblem of the link between Tuvstarr and her friend, Longleg Leap. The poster is quiet and reflective — the princess, in running away from the castle in order to be free from it, is now bound to the shore of the water in search of a charm, a reminder of the life she so wanted to leave behind and now can never return to.