Throw your wands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care! Solemnly swearing that they were up to no good, Harry Potter enthusiasts gathered this past Saturday for an evening of well-mannered frivolity at the Beehive Society’s awe-inspiring Beasts of Hogwarts Art Show at Heron Arts.
Capitalizing off of hype surrounding the recent release of JK Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Beehive Society celebrated the magical world of Harry Potter with stunning artwork by artists ranging from digital illustrator Kati Prescott to freelance animator Kenichiro Chaffee that showcased mythical beasts originally imagined by young fans. In partnership with 826 Valencia, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students with their writing skills, the pop-up art exhibit catered to the imaginations of the program’s children while immersing viewers in a spellbinding, out-of-this-world experience.
Introducing 826 Valencia students to their first course in Magizoology — the study of magical creatures — the Beehive Society gave young witches and wizards the opportunity to dream up their own fantastic beasts, envision locations for beastly habitation and generate unique powers for their unearthly specimens.
With original pieces from 25 participating artists inspired by both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the work of these young Magizoologists, the Beasts of Hogwarts Art Show triumphed in bringing exceptional magic to the creative space.
Leaving viewers spellbound was New York-based artist Caroline Hadilaksono’s piece, “Spikes.” Utilizing watercolor and gouache-based paint, the magnetizing work of art featured beautiful illustrations of a fire-breathing, snow-white beast and children casting spells of scrumptious desserts. The delectable incantations would make any wizard, witch or magical being crave the sweetness of Honeydukes. Aside from the creature’s favorite recreational activity of obliterating everything in its path, Spikes’ diet consists of candy, fruits and desserts — because any diet involving irresistible confections is better than polyjuice potions and the stomach-churning flavors or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
A ravenous beast with a mighty sweet tooth, Nicc Balce’s painting of “The Octoguin” was another crowd-pleaser that fascinated viewers. Half-penguin, half-octopus, this shark-despising, dolphin-loving “Octoguin” lives underwater, creates colorful fish with the touch of its limbs and consumes nothing but pizza and candy — an enviable diet of any muggle’s dream. The intriguing, gouache-based canvas features a happy “Octoguin” eating a slice of pizza as five fish surround the sea creature with a curious, lollipop-sucking child seated on one of its tentacles while holding a bucket filled with delectable pumpkin treats.
Entrancing viewers with his oil painting of an ice-breathing serpent, San Francisco-based artist Jon Ching dazzled with his beastly work of art. The self-trained painter, whose other work focuses mainly on real-world wildlife, conjured “In the Forest | Found Fang,” a hypnotizing piece merging features of a wild animal with those of a mythical beast. With piercing eyes and bloodcurdling fangs, Ching’s arctic-inhabiting viper would give Tom Riddle’s basilisk a run for its golden Galleons.
With the rebirth of the beloved “Harry Potter” franchise, the Beasts of Hogwarts Art Show proved that the unconquerable JK Rowling still holds a powerful place in many hearts. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” screened in the background of the annual Beehive Society exhibition as children dressed in Hogwarts house robes frolicked through the gallery with wands held aloft. Between coloring activities, a luring photo booth and wine, Potterheads received magical treatment.
The Beehive Society’s Beasts of Hogwarts Art Show enchanted viewers with spectacular pieces that would have been impossible without the collaboration of 826 Valencia. Wizards, witches and muggles alike rejoiced in a night of unapologetic fandom and pure magic — mischief managed!