A University of Wisconsin-Stout assistant professor in the department of design brought some of Menomonie’s historical places into a new book he illustrated based on a 1913 fairy tale.
Erik Evensen used steampunk influence to merge history and fantasy in “The Devil’s Punch-Bowl.” The book is based on a story written by Isabelle Waterman, a then-Menomonie High School student, for the school literary magazine The Menomite.
Steampunk bridges the gap of history and fantasy, often recognizing history in a fantastical way, Evensen said.
“A lot of people enjoy the time period, particularly the Victorian and Edwardian era,” Evensen said. “A lot of it is the costuming and the fashion that is interesting. I wanted to pull some of that in to get into the time frame of who wrote it.
“I’ve always been interested in science fiction and fantasy,” Evensen said.
In 2007 Evensen published a graphic novel titled the “Gods of Asgard,” an adaptation of the Norse myths. “No one had ever done that before in English,” he noted.
Some of the illustrations in “The Devil’s Punch-Bowl” feature sites from UW-Stout including the Clock Tower and Louis Smith Tainter House, which houses the UW-Stout Alumni Association and Stout University Foundation.
Mixes magical with mystical
Waterman’s fairy tale is a magical and mystical story of how the Punch Bowl originated.
The 2.9-acre Devil’s Punch Bowl is on 410th Street about four miles southwest of Menomonie. The site has a waterfall and is a naturally carved rock formation with depressions resembling a bowl shape.
Stories of gnomes, trolls, ghosts and fairies being spotted at the Punch Bowl abound.
The book with Evensen’s illustrations went on sale Friday, Dec. 1, at Rassbach Heritage Museum gift shop in Wakanda Park. The cost will be $7 for the full-color, seven-page book. All proceeds will benefit Dunn County Historical Society programs. The story is suitable for all ages.
Melissa Kneeland, Holtby Museum educator with the historical society, said Evensen is a talented artist who understands the myths genre.
“He takes such care in his illustrations and pays so much attention to detail,” Kneeland said. “He’s able to turn Menomonie, of which UW-Stout is a part, into a fairy tale kingdom.”
Evensen recently had an illustration published in a coffee table book “Twin Peaks: Glorious and Bizarre,” which includes illustrations based on the television show. Evensen said his illustration focuses on a portrait of the character Audrey Horne. The book is available at www.instagram.com/monsapublications/.
Evensen also redesigned the Blue Devils logo for the university and has designed several posters for the Wilson Place Mansion’s Halloween events.
He teaches in UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design, www.uwstout.edu/artdes and is director of the industrial design Bachelor of Fine Arts program.