Creation is a harsh mistress. The Artist’s perspective on the world is forever changed. It’s difficult for Artists to look on their surroundings without taking objects apart in their mind, planning ways to rebuild them better. Every wall could be improved by a painting; every room could benefit from reconstructing the architecture. Artists can come across as a little obsessive, some suffering more violently from the artistic temperament.
The Artist’s appearance varies with his discipline. A carpenter may have fingers like gnarled roots and teeth faintly like a saw’s. A stonemason’s skin looks faintly like her own brickwork, and her nails are almost ironlike, the better to hook around large stones and pull them into place. In some cases, the Artist’s own body was his canvas. A tattoo artist has become a true Illustrated Man, the ink on his body shifting and crawling as if alive.
The seamstress’s skin has been stitched back into place here and there, and pins are stuck through her flesh as if she had absentmindedly mistaken her own arms for her pincushion. The Artist also has a very intense gaze, the stare of one who has seen fantastic wonders and longs to recreate them — this time, on the changeling’s own terms.
Artists ran a little mad in Faerie. Most other Lost could shut out the memories of things that seemed to make no physical sense, the conflicting angles and colors without names. It was the Artist’s job to capture these things for posterity, to design the impossible staircases and galleries of a Faerie mansion, to sculpt a flattering portrait of a nightmare that seethed and roiled inside its silken skin. These tasks tried Artists’ mental fortitude to the breaking point, and only those who were later able to reclaim sufficient human perspective were able to return.
Artists might have served briefly as the raw materials for their Keepers’ own artistic tendencies. However, this never lasts the duration of the durance; after subjecting Artists to some initial work, the True Fae then sets the poor Wizened to going about the business of creating more oddities and gewgaws for the True Fae. An Artist may have shared a durance with Manikins, one kith mostly the crafter and one kith mostly the crafted.
Artists have much in common with the various fae crafters of folklore. Artists might have been traded to a demented goblin in exchange for the trick of spinning straw into gold, or apprenticed to a mad Fae cobbler with an obsession for creative leatherwork. Artists can also be associated with many of the fantastic objects and creations of folklore. Did the famous glass mountain have an army of fae glaziers carving the invisible doors into its surface? Impossible tasks given to the protagonist of a fairy tale are also starting points. The girl who must make seven shirts out of nettles for her brothers, or the hero who has to build his own boat — these, too, can become Wizened.
Injured by the sound of breaking paintbrushes or tools, compelled to obey those who know their “slave names”, cannot damage works related to their discipline, compelled to sign own works, may not wear white, fear butterflies.