Danish artist hatches epic global troll hunt
Thomas Dambo tells fans that 'Moon Mother' sculpture is in 'the most secret spot in the forest'
COPENHAGEN: A Danish artist famous for his towering wooden trolls sent fans on a worldwide quest on Monday to find his latest creation.
Thomas Dambo has created a complex treasure hunt to find "Moon Mother", his 100th troll sculpture, who he said has "crawled into the most secret spot in the forest" to give birth.
His giant figures inspired by Scandinavian folk tales are often located off the beaten track to tempt children and adults to venture out into nature, and to show what you can do with recycled materials.
To find "Moon Mother", fans will have to piece together codes placed near his existing trolls across the world.
"I decided to make a super secret one and make it an intricate treasure hunt that leads you around all the other ones I've made through the years," Dambo told AFP.
His giant troll sculptures are dotted around the globe from a German forest to a South Korean mountain. But most are in the United States and his native Denmark.
The former graffiti artist and rapper dedicated himself to epic "trolling" back in 2014, after making his first two trolls for a music festival.
His sculptures have been visited by about 10 million people, he said. Each is unique, with its own name, design and personality.
Not all are still standing — Hurricane Maria in 2017 claimed a troll called "Hector Protector" in Puerto Rico.
"In all of Scandinavia, we have trolls in our mythology and in our folklore," said Dambo of the ugly mythological creatures that are said to live under bridges.
"I grew up with many different fairy tales."
Almost all of the Copenhagen-based artist's trolls can be found using an online "Troll Map". But fans looking for his latest will have to use QR codes placed on metal plaques next to his other 99 creations and enter them on the online map.
Once fans have found all the codes — something that will require collective effort — a riddle will reveal the location of the new troll.
"It's a little bit cryptical, a little bit hard," Dambo admitted.
'Trash is a treasure'
An AFP reporter was driven in a car with blacked-out windows to a secret location to see "Moon Mother" taking shape recently.
Members of Dambo's team carefully attached long wooden branches to the six-metre-tall sculpture to create the troll's flowing hair.
"We're going for a wild, untamed hairstyle," one worker smiled.
Dambo went to extreme lengths to keep the site a secret, not telling his own team the exact location until the final stages and using different paths every day so as not to leave tracks.
His works are made almost entirely of recycled materials.
The face of "Moon Mother", for instance, is made from oak scraps from a Danish flooring company.
"I like to build all my things out of trash because I think that trash is a treasure," he Dambo said.
He said he hoped his art "can be a part of the movement that shows people that trash is not disgusting and it's not worthless.
"It's something that has the value to bring thousands of people out to find it as a treasure."