There's a documentary show called Taboo, which i haven't seen in years but was the first thing i thought of for this theme. The general premise of the show is some things are forbidden, disgusting, or just plain weird to our culture but normal, everyday, or downright required for others. One episode covered rites of passage - everything from facial tattoos to something i'm not sure i can describe accurately, but it involved bulls and lots of running, and not the logical away-from-the-bulls running you'd normally think of.
One particular rite of passage took place near one of the major rivers in Africa. The tribe living there believed crocodiles were incredibly powerful (okay, who doesn't?), but they also believed making themselves look like a particular animal would imbue them with the power of said animal. For a boy to be considered a man, he had to submit to being covered with cuts meant to resemble crocodile scales; then he and the other boys going through the ritual would temporarily move into a hut which would be constantly filled with smoke, designed to irritate the cuts as they healed so they would be guaranteed to form clear scars.
For my faeries, i imagine a hunting tribe passing down the idea of the dangerous fae-eating snakes from the times before St. Patrick drove them out of Ireland, who still insist anyone who wants to be considered a proper hunter (or huntress) must alter emself to have the appearance of snakeskin. The real old-school traditionalists go so far as to bind their legs in imported snakeskin whenever they aren't busy cutting up said legs.
Keelan Rosa, Pennsylvania Member Since May 2008 Artist Statement
Keelan Rosa first became interested in art when he was two years old and has been fascinated by art, illustration, and design ever since (the unhealthy obsession with all things sci-fi came a bit later). He's especially fond of figure art, and the challenge which goes along with trying to show a complex personality in a simple image.
Keelan was trained in traditional media but prefers working with a combination of traditional and digital media. He has also worked in a variety of subjects and styles, but is currently focused on finding the union between humans and other aspects of nature.
Started with pencil-scribbles at the kitchen table, then studied at Sue Hand's Imagery throughout most of his school years. Keelan also spent all of two years as an art major at Syracuse University and Sage College before dropping out of art school to study business (aka, How to Make Enough Money to Continue Being an Artist). He still attempts to learn new art techniques on a regular basis, but this now comes primarily in the form of ImagineFX magazines instead of studio classes.
Website - You can see larger versions of Keelan's artwork at his main site, illo.KeelanRosa.com - and can even get some cool freebies while you're there.