This is so cool! We did an interview with Laura C. Dunklee of the Hedgehog Welfare Society which you can find here (there’s also a wonderful review of our little book):
An Interview with HRH Princess Perdita Pricklepants Laura C. Dunklee, HWS Co-Chair for Health, Research, and Education
Thank you, your Royal Highness, for making yourself available for this interview. I know your time is valu- able and shall strive to be respectful and mindful of your commitments. For those not familiar with the groundbreaking “Hedgehog Art Through the Ages,” might you explain your vision for the book?
We had a few goals.
First we wanted to delight readers with the magnificent world of hedgehog art. There’s so much wonderful work out there from the Renaissance through the Modern period and we’re glad to be able to share this wonderful, lovely, and often fun world of hedgehog art. From Botticelli to Warhol there are so many ways to represent hedgehogs and capture the mysterious quilly essence that it makes for a fascinating journey.
Second we wanted to give each work enough context to be appreciated while keeping a light touch and a sense of humor. And lastly, we wanted to be sneakily educational, by describing major art periods, notable things about individual artists, their styles of representing hedgehogs, and their innovations.
Many people, even art historians (who should know better!), are unaware of the vast repository of art that includes – correction: celebrates – hedgehogs; why do you think this is and what can we, your subjects, do to raise visibility about this most important subject?
“Rembrandt’s Portrait of Hedgehog Noble”
Hedgehog art history and art criticism is a young field, which does mean fewer will be exposed to the many works which are, even now, still being found. For instance, just this last month a 40,000 year old cave painting of a hedgehog was discovered! We work with the Royal Society of Hedgehog Art Historians, and hold the public outreach chair, so we’re promoting a greater knowledge and understanding. When notable discoveries are made, we share them with our subjects.
We published this book to give a nice overview of hedgehog art, and so far readers have responded delightfully well. In an effort to bring hedgehog art in the public eye we (shameless plug alert!) produce tee shirts (search for “Urchin Wear” on Amazon), and have other merchandise such as note cards and delightful things on Redbubble.com. If subjects would like to raise visibility, following us on Facebook or Twitter and sharing anything that you particularly like would be a great way to spread the word, and of course, if you should purchase a book (we’d be endlessly grateful if you did) then writing a review would be very helpful. And if you really are an enthusiast and would like a tee shirt, there are many designs to choose from, in case one delights.
In the past we tried to reach out to various scholars at universities to further promote a popular knowledge of hedgehog art, though strangely professors rarely respond, and when they did they seemed to get confused. They’d just send notes saying things like “Please stop emailing me,” or “Do I need to get a restraining order?” For the record they don’t need to put in an order for art history retraining, we’d be happy to advise at no charge.
How do you feel about the way the artists’ models were treated as they posed for these remarkable works? What do you know about these models and their lives beyond the art world?
Well, I think we can say the first poor hedgehog used in the cave art was probably not very happy. An ancient human effectively blew ochre all over the poor thing to create an outline – horrifying. People apparently weren’t very polite 40,000 years ago.
“Detail of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel”
There are a number of unknown models in works from the Renaissance, and little is known about the day to day lives of common hedgehogs (Hedgehog Cultural Studies is also a very young field, though the Hedgehog American Cultural Association is making progress researching and promoting public awareness). Given the refined and subtle poses in works through most art history, we want to assume that models were treated with the gentleness and kindness all hedgehogs deserve, but this is something we must research more to be sure of.
One of the most remarkable things we’ve learned about this is that Her Highness’s forebears are occasionally represented. In this case we do have various records and stories and know that as nobility, they were generally treated with due dignity, decorum, and politeness, though human social norms were odd.
For instance, the culture of Renaissance Italy held unusual superstitions regarding the idea of hedgehogs crawling in their food as “unclean,” and in Paris in the late 1800s the mere presence of hedgehogs could scandalize literary salons. We also know that there were various court intrigues among Renaissance hedge- hogs, especially the Venetians, with conflicts and even impoliteness.
I note that “Hedgehog Art Through the Ages” has you listed as a secondary author; what was it like to collaborate with a co-author, what was your writing and editing process like, and do you feel S.M. Bach was appropriately respectful of your vision for the book? Also, why did you choose to be listed second?
“David’s Discomfort of Socrates”
S.M. Bach is our loyal hand servant who has worked diligently with us in our research and cataloging, has helped with preparing photos of the art, and is a far better typist (a good hedgehog keyboard is a challenge to design). In working on the book, I would select works, dictate accounts for each, and then we would go over edits and layouts. Editing is definitely not fun, though I left most of that kind of menial labor to the handservants so we could live the true life of mind every hedgehog aspires to.
Due to persistent and pernicious pet prejudice in publishing, the human was required to be listed first – it’s shocking to see such a thing in this day and age, but the fight for progress truly never ends.
As a pet’s rights activist this was very troubling, but we are working on expanding awareness and will work to see the day a hedgehog can publish without the sad specter of speciesism.
What has been the critical reception to this revolutionary work? Do you feel this reception is appropriate? Will there be a second book?
We’re very happy to say the reception has been universally positive. We’ve gotten reviews from several readers (art enthusiasts) who said they felt the book was written specifically for them, and the reviews on Amazon are all very positive, and what reviews we’ve received from websites have been very positive (for instance BoingBoing reviewed our book). Needless to say more reviews to help popularize this important topic would be both delightful and a great contribution to aiding the advance of knowledge.
“Mucha’s P. Picklepants”
At this point we’re still mulling a second art book. We are planning work on a children’s story book (not art related), and once that’s done we’ll need to see where things stand. There are a number of traditional hedgehog folk tales not well known to humans that we are considering adapting. Needless to say we will continue sharing art research that is not in the current book since there are so many dimensions to it. While the current book begins in the Renaissance, we’ve since found cave art, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek art, and have shared various wonderful works from the Middle Ages, as well as Chinese art, and other things. It’s an exciting time to be in the field, and we may really need to publish a second volume.
Are there any artistic periods you are personally drawn to? Are you a collector of hedgehog art and, if so, where might your subjects view some of your private collection?
We usually feel that whatever art we’re looking at is our favorite, but we are uniquely drawn to Art Nouveau works. We are also deeply drawn to Japanese ukiyo-e print making (there is a section on Japanese art in the book). Since we do some work in graphic design, that may be part of the allure of poster art and print making.
And now, more general questions, if I may… As a Princess, you have many responsibilities; do you find these annoying or enjoyable? Are there any you have decided you’d rather not be bothered with and thus have delegated to others?
We are a very busy hedgehog, but we like to keep busy. We do try to delegate to tasks that are more physical (or which don’t require the keen intellectual abilities of a hedgehog) over to the handservants. Fortunately, they are reasonably competent so long as one is patient with them.
You are the second Princess Pricklepants, having succeeded Princess Penelope; how has she inspired or influenced you as a leader and as a Princess?
Princess Penelope is the stuff of legend, a pioneer in so many fields, and even a presidential candidate. Her example is a daunting one to live up to, though from her we learned that grace, gentleness, good manners, a deep dedication to one’s duties, and careful management of handservants to keep them on task and help them when they get a little confused will yield tremendous results
We also learned from Princess Penelope the importance of developing one’s own vision and voice and pursuing it. While she was more focused on the dramatic arts and being a photo model, we’ve grown more focused on the fine arts, and even learning video animation and production.
We’d recommend taking a look at the book trailer we’ve produced, as well as our various animated features – we’re especially pleased with Hedgezilla vs. Mechahedgezilla, and Hedgezilla vs. Mechahedgezilla II.
You are known for being a highly visible and vocal advocate for politeness and have also gained a reputation for diplomacy: might you share with your subjects how we might emulate you in our daily lives?
“Vermeer’s Hedgehog With a Pearl Earring”
We are very glad you asked. Today’s world has seen a sad decline in politeness, manners, and etiquette, and it’s well worth bringing this back to promote a more civil society and civil discourse so we can live together without so many petty conflicts.
There’s no better guide to manners than the works of Princess Penelope, which begins here and carries on extensively and in much detail.
You have a very active presence on social media: Do you maintain all your accounts, yourself, of have you tasked others to handle your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, and Blog? Further, how do you feel about sharing so much of your personal live—and many adventures—in a public manner? Are there some topics you feel are inappropriate for social media discussion?
As royalty, it is our duty to share updates to the public, and we’re so used to it we don’t really even think about it. We often dictate and delegate the typing to the hand servant, as well as much of the clicking parts, and the photo editing, and photography, but we do most of the work.
While Princess Penelope was a bit more open, we are a little more reserved, which is why you see fewer domestic things generally, but it is our duty to serve as an ambassador of manners, and we find it fun to chat with subjects who chime in on our adventures.
We do keep some things to ourselves, though just common sense things that wouldn’t be good etiquette to share.
And finally, four personal questions:
What is currently on your bedside table?
Haley’s Guide to Manners, 2015 edition (the classic), a teapot with a bit of chamomile left and a teacup, and a very small rubber crocodile.
What music are you currently listening to?
Currently listening to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Sad he didn’t write a hedgehog piece, it surely would have been glorious.
What are you planning for your next adventure?
We tend to play things by ear, but we’ve heard about a country populated with tiny hedgehogs that we would really like to visit soon. Also there is space travel. Or perhaps working on solving the Mystery of the Moroccan Monkey Mantelpiece. And some are suggesting a trip to Castle Fischer-Price to look for a grail thingie.
Is pink still your favorite color?
Yes, that and indigo. And also emerald green. And sometimes burgundy. Except when it is royal purple.
Thank you for the gracious sharing of your time, Princess; on behalf of your subjects, may I say you are truly an inspiration and we are fortunate to have you.
If you, dear reader, would like to know more about HRH Perdita Pricklepants, she can be found on: Facebook (princesspricklepants)
Youtube (urchinwear) Her blog (http://princesspricklepants.com)
And occasionally on Instagram.
Hedgehog Art Through the Ages — A Review Laura C. Dunklee, HWS Co-Chair for Health, Research, and Education
Van Gogh’s The Starry Hedgehog Night
I am an art lover. I am a history lover. I am also a hedgehog lover .
How is it, then, that I was completely, embarrassingly unaware of the vast realm of historical hedgehog art?!
Thankfully, Her Royal Highness, Princess Perdita Pricklepants, and her devoted handservant, S. M. Bach, have devoted so much time and energy to painstakingly researching and documenting this vital, and yet — until now — little known and explored field.
Hedgehog Art Through the Ages is a text that delights, as the authors share with us many recently discovered artistic masterworks. Not only have the authors chosen to include photos of these works, but they have also written engaging, informative comments, introducing the reader to the artists, their place in history, and various important bits about their lives and the masterpieces.
Do not allow yourself to gaze only at the art, only skimming the accompanying text! It is in the words, thoughtfully placed below the images for the ease of finding, that one gains the greatest insights into the importance of each piece. For example, the descriptive words under “The Starry Hedgehog Night”:
Van Gogh’s 1888 “The Starry Hedgehog Night” was a view painted from the east-facing window of his asylum room. The nurses noticed the various hedgehogs hiding in the painting, and were concerned, so Vincent repainted the more well known version of the painting. Much could be said, though it’s better to just look at it.
Upon reading the above, I took the authors’ advice and just looked at it.
I was pleased.
The perfect text for any lover of art, of history, of hedgehogs: go forth, purchase, and savor Hedgehog Art Through the Ages!