I recently had an animated gif made of my Viking Art painting, “The Masked One,” and thought this would be a good reason to talk about the painting again!
“He wore a dark-blue mantle and called himself Grimnir,
but said no more about himself, though he was questioned.
– Grimnismol, Prose Introduction, Bellows Translation
The concept of masks, and a god of masks has always been fascinating to me. One of Odin's many names is Grimnir, meaning the hooded or masked one. It is clear in the lore that Odin is a shapeshifter, a man of many faces, and I wanted to draw on that for this painting.
But the painting is more than just a faithful interpretation of Grimnir. We all wear masks, and I wanted to explore my own understanding and experiences with curating the face we show others at any given moment as well as the idea that there are some faces we keep hidden deep away. I think this is a concept we all can relate to, and in that way we are all Grimnir, we are all the masked one!
I wrote a poem about the painting:
We are all the Masked One,
selecting the faces we show to the world,
and which ones we hide.
With lock and key,
we are both the answer and the problem.
What is truth?
The Masked One knows…
— The Masked One, by Sam Flegal
Sam Flegal is the creative mind behind Fateful Signs. He has been a freelance Illustrator since 2009. He likes to work in oil paint and with brush and ink, focusing on exaggerated expressions and detail. Sam lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his lovely wife and daughter. He makes art almost everyday and is a very lucky man.