Last night I returned from my two-week sojourn in Readercon, Finncon, London -- an incredibly intense time, and it will take me a while to sort through all of it (or even begin to). Finland was amazing — the people especially, and then the country's history and landscapes and mythic texture. And I discovered the work of a remarkable Finnish painter and photographer, Hugo Simberg, best known for his work in the Tamperre Cathedral and his painting "The Wounded Angel," http://users.tkk.fi/~apajunen/seeart/jpgs/haavenkeli.jpg. (The painting inspired the forthcoming music video from Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, http://www.nightwish.com/en/news, an interesting haut-goth group I'm also going to check out ASAP.)
I'd never heard of Simberg — more fool me, since he fits squarely within the Symbolist/visionary/outsider canon of artists I most admire. So I hope to write about him at some point too (and will use him in a story I'm working on). I'd love to hear from anyone with any information on Simberg, as there's scant info in English on the web and not many books — Judith Clute found a marvelous volume in Jyvaskyla, but unfortunately nearly all the test is in Finnish.
I have to go underground for the next few days to do a piece on Harry Potter, but will resurface soon. In the meantime, it's good to be back home with the rest of the I4!