In the weird, woodland magics of of Brett Manning’s art, one will find a labyrinth of moss-covered pathways and mushroom-dotted clearings, where one might imagine hearing the whispers of faeries and the footsteps of forest spirits.

Whimsy dances hand in hand with shadows and decay, creating a thicket of contrasts that defies simple categorization. While her creations exude a playful charm, there’s an underlying hint of shadow that adds depth and complexity to her work. Think Beatrix Potter goes to the Goblin Market, told via the forested strangeness of a gloomy Twin Peaksian folklore, tinged with the cryptic mystery and intrigue of the X-Files; channel that through an impish imagination, a flair for visual storytelling, and an eye for the uncanny, and you begin to grasp the enigmatic allure of Manning’s realms.

Basically what I am trying to say here is that Brett Manning’s artworks embrace the wild and the wondrous, they are the artistic equalivalent of the unhinged urge to disappear from society and rewild as a feral forest goblin, and embody the idea of a gnome riding on the back of a possom, rolling up to you in a little car made of autumnal forest detritus and saying, “get in losers, we’re gonna admire moss and mushrooms in the forest.”



Faerie Music, Brett Manning, 2021, ink.


Faerie Music in The Art of Fantasy


Faerie Music caption, Korean to English translation


The three images above, let me explain them. The first is “Faerie Music,” which Brett kindly permitted me to include the the pages of The Art of Fantasy: A Treasury of All That Is Unreal.

Here is the caption I wrote for it and which you will find included in the book:

“Fiddling, strumming and tootling through the twilight while lounging about on cosy toadstools, the faerie folk musicians by contemporary artist Brett Manning are a captivating blend of dainty and earthy, and seem envisioned from both ancient books of forest folklore and your favourite well-thumbed local woodland cryptid guide. A maker who wears many hats (probably woven by gnomes with spider silk and beetle wings), Manning’s whimsical, magic creations take the form of illustrations as well as cavorting and capering all over the clothing that she designs.”

The second image is a photo of Brett’s artwork in the Korean language edition of The Art of Fantasy, and the third photo is from where I ran the Korean caption through a translator, and it gave me back an English version. I don’t think this is actually how it reads in Korean, but …I also kind of hope so?

“Modern painter Brett Manning sat on a cosy poisonous mushroom, in the twilight, played the violin, ripped the harp, drew fairy flute musicians, capturing the elegant earthy nature. In this paining, we can think of both ancient folk tales and our favourite guides to unidentified creatures in our woods and our neighborhood. Manning’s quirky and magical creation, which mainly uses a hat (like a fairy in the ground woven with spider’s webs and beetle wings), is not only embodied in illustrations, but also plays cheerfully in the clothes she designs.”

I love the idea of Brett sitting on a mushroom, playing a violin and ripping a harp, and using a hat to create! Honestly, that may have been better than what I wrote.

Bauchan, Brett Manning
Springtime, Brett Maning

Through her art, Manning invites us to peek into hidden nooks and corners where we can almost hear the lilting melodies played on instruments of nature, a secret serenade echoing through the twilight woods, performed by faeries, cryptids, spirits, and other strange entities that exist on the fringes and in the peripheries.  So next time you find yourself wandering through a sun-dappled sylvan setting, keep an ear out. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of Manning’s whimsical creations, their music weaving a spell of wonder and enchantment, their whispers urging you to get lost in the woods and never to be seen again.

As you contemplate trading modern trappings for the untamed beauty of fanciful forest realms, and perhaps even become one with moss and bugs, indulge in daydreams of the things between and unseen.

Below, a gallery awaits, showcasing my favorites among Manning’s works, inviting you to embark on your own journey through her weird woodland worlds.



Artwork by Brett Manning
Artwork by Brett Manning


Artwork by Brett Manning
Snarly Yow, A West Virginia Cryptid


The Seven Whistlers, Brett Manning


Find Brett Manning: Etsy // Instagram // Book: One Foot In The Green


If you enjoy these art-related writings, or if you have ever enjoyed or been inspired by something I have written, and you would like to support this blog, consider buying the author a coffee?

…or support me on Patreon!

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