By Fawn Krieger
Edited by Jennilie Brewster


-This project was featured in the Independent School of Art's 2nd issue of SATELLITE Magazine, published in 2007. Each issue revolves around the life of one person. This person is not revealed biographically, but through a series of open-ended responses to many of the themes that defined their life. For issue 2, the person is Jim Henson (1936-1990). To order a copy of SATELLITE, click here-

Friends' Imaginary Friends is inspired by Aloysius Snuffleupagus, Big Bird's imaginary friend on Sesame Street. This project seeks to unlock the territory between alienation and trust, secrecy and physical touch. I asked my friends to share their memories of their own personal imaginary companions, and then coupled these remembrances with sculptures I constructed in response. Through this process, these unseen, lost, buried, and forgotten partners become intimate materialized monuments that speak to the freedom in private fantasy spaces.

How can we make visible what is invisible? I'm looking to uncover abandoned social spaces, and to make negative space positive. Where are the other halves of ourselves that help us to survive, but that get neglected or swallowed by a system that weighs truth by the physical occupation and possession of space?

These twelve recovered friends are eventually handed over to their rightful owners, completing and beginning a circle of social architecture.

Newcastle, UK

I’ve always had the feeling that someone was with me, maybe not an imaginary friend in the typical sense, but someone who was always looking out for me. I pictured her to be an older black woman, short and chubby with big smiling cheeks; the sort you’d picture sitting on a porch sipping lemonade in the middle of summer in Mississippi. She’s got smooth dark brown skin with no wrinkles…except around her eyes when she laughs. She has the whitest teeth ever and a small gap in between her top front two. I also picture her as having huge rough hands and dirty fingernails. Although we’ve never really had a conversation, she is always there rolling her eyes or sucking her teeth at me when I do something wrong.

My Portuguese grandmother, Albina, speaks to me in her soothing, clear voice, in her house dress and carefully combed gray mass of hair. Her voice - and the smell of frying garlicky steak - floods my memories of her. The other day my father sent me her photograph - she was much younger then, in red lipstick, probably in the 1940's. If i ever speak to her, it's nothing but a voice, creamy after all these years. Drenched in her speech is the feeling that she might just understand, having left her country at a young age herself, to try an uncertain luck in Brazil.
Seattle, USA

somehow i had a receipt book. that started it all. i had a really small room so all of my furniture was kind of weird in order to fit in it. my bed was a captain's bed, which has drawers underneath it. my desk was one of those old school desks with the chair attached and the top lifts up. the desk faced the door so when i sat at it i just looked at the door. it started there, people would come in and i would ask how they were and tell them they could look around. there was a lot of pretend surprised "oh hi! yeah come in, look around." like i would get "interrupted" a lot from my busy store-work. then if someone bought something there was the "oh this is wonderful" talk. the weird thing is i wouldn't even actually write receipts, i would fake write receipts because i didn't want to use up the receipt book. then it turned into a clothing store. i would stand at my bed, open my drawers, take out my clothes and re-fold them. I pretended that customers were walking in and i would talk to them without stopping my task of folding. i felt that i always had to look busy. i don't remember who the customers were, though i feel like i would make a young japanese man come in. i was obsessed with japan for a short while. i think i had this store when i was 9?

Bologna , Italy

She was an old lady with dark skin, an angular face, sunken eyes with a yellow shadow around them. She had a blue scarf around her head and a black pony tail. Her nose was big and prominent, her skin very wrinkled. Her body was small and thick, also angular, sort of cubic. She always had a serious expression on her face, never smiling. Her overall look is a bit like a dark shadow and she was always holding a wooden cane. She didn’t move and never spoke to me. But when I was alone I could feel her presence very strongly. She was not really a friend, but more like an enigmatic presence. I never really understood why I could see and feel her, or what her role in my life was, a strange thing really...


When I was 2-3 years old I had triplet imaginary friends, dee dee, dick dick, and day day. My mom tells me that I wanted places set for them at the table and was quite insistent that if they didn't eat, I wouldn't either. She says that they accompanied me on trips and remembers them enjoying Florida. I remember them walking in a row next to me at “Parrot Jungle”, and I also recall running down a grassy green hill with them, all of us in row, holding hands.

I can't remember if I had an imaginary friend or not, probably not, since I remember a lot. I should add that much of the time the entire world was alive for me. Every object had a soul. BUT, my deceased youngest brother, Tim, had an exceptional invisible friend named Birdy. Tim was a colic baby and never "right," (alcoholism and addiction took his life), but when he was having nightmares or was otherwise inconsolable as a child, Birdy would appear and calm him down. Mom said that one night when Tim was about 5 years old he was frightened and angry about something. She was in his room comforting him when he suddenly calmed right down, looked at the window and said, "Birdy's here." Mom said she saw the curtain flutter just the smallest bit. All the hairs stood up on the back of her neck, but she also felt that Birdy was a completely benign presence, a little like a guardian angel. Still, she was glad to get the hell out that room when Tim went to sleep.
Personal Assistant

I was a tad bit anal retentive as a child and shitting was a very private matter. It is not so much the case now but as a 5 year old, well, it was essential that I not be disturbed - at least by my corporeal family or friends. John was a different story. He would keep me company during number 2 not as much with witty conversation but more with the idea of a crapping companion. He only appeared then, at no other time during my waking or sleeping life and only for the duration of the actual movement. It wasn't until I was about 30 that I thought of him and made the connection between his name and the room in which he would appear. I don't have a clue as to the reason for his manifestation but I do know that he never judged, never waved a hand in front of his nose, never recoiled at the plop and farting involved and always made me feel safe and comfortable in that most vulnerable moment of my day.
Gallerist & Magazine Editor
Berlin, Germany

I have two kinds of intense connections to persons who are not physically present: Authors I have never met and those I love but who are no longer in this realm. In total, a dozen – I hadn't realized I was so social. I will have to choose one…warm, smiley eyes, open, positive, negative, beyond good and evil…Immanuel Kant.

I have imagined him different than the few images that exist. Elegant, funny, short hair, nice hands, likes good wine. With all my "imaginary" friends it's an aura rather than someone with precise physical characteristics. They are sort of next to me and I perceive them without seeing them. Sometimes I connect Immanuel Kant with purple. I guess because the cover of my copy of the Critique of Judgment was purple.

When I was really small my parents built a second floor addition onto our house that remained unfinished for years. There were no windows and the only entrance was right across the hall from my bedroom door. I was sure that a pack of wolves was living in the attic, it was always dark and when I looked in I saw their glowing eyes looking back at me. I imagined that there was a baby living with them. It was not a baby person or wolf or any other kind of animal. It didn’t have any real form. The wolves were taking care of it, but I eventually convinced it to come live in my room and let me take care of it. We became friends. I was the only one who could see/hear/talk to my formless friend. Eventually I forgot all about the wolves.

As time went on my friend became something: a bunny. I think mostly because a little bunny could sleep under my bed. When my friend went from being nothing to a bunny, our relationship changed. It could no longer talk to me. It also did not need to be taken care of anymore. We were more like equals. By coincidence, on my fifth or sixth birthday my aunt gave me a stuffed rabbit. The second I unwrapped the toy rabbit my imaginary bunny was instantly zapped into the body of my new stuffed one. I was so excited that I could introduce my longtime friend to everyone and could take him with me wherever I went.

My imaginary friend was my imaginary body. She lived only in the mirror and I talked to her often. She looked exactly the same as me, but she was thinner than my real reflection. She had my same name, but wasn’t me. I would visit with her whenever I felt insecure, lost, afraid, or if I’d been in a situation that hurt me. It felt good when I could see her and talk to her. She kept me from feeling things that hurt because when I saw her everything was perfect. That was important. I would check everything about her to make sure it was always the same and perfect. When I talked to her, things didn’t hurt me as much. I felt good in my body when I saw her the way I did, but she also scared me into anger, self-hatred, sadness and shame when she looked different than what I expected and I didn’t know why or how that happened. In my diary I wrote down all her thoughts and feelings. It was safe that way, to experience through her.
Seattle, USA

In Italy where I was born, my family lived in a medium-size penthouse with a humongous terrace, the view unobstructed by other buildings, with blue skies and drifting clouds. I remember bicycle riding, hopscotch, drawing and more drawing, and then listening to stories told by my older siblings and parents.

One day my mother told me that when she was pregnant with me, she had a miscarriage. My twin was a boy. I shared three months inside her womb with another being before he was gone and I was left alone.

I wonder whether my personality, my instinct, who I am today, is influenced by those three months of time, growing and sharing fluids, male hormones and physical bumps. Sometimes it feels like retrieving remote memory. It is exciting to know even then, I was not alone!
Magazine Editor

I didn't exactly have an imaginary friend, as I have a twin brother and we were each other's mute friends. But, in a way, I thought I was imaginary or that my brother and I both were. I often believed I wasn't really real or that I was an invisible secret person with eyes and ears but no body, sort of a detached, dual personality. Sometimes, I floated above the earth like a small cloud. When I did envision myself with a body, I was smaller than an insect and lived inside tiny ship models in museums, behind glass, quietly roaming a microscopic world. Sometimes I still like to feel invisible.
Fawn Krieger is a sculptor living in NYC, USA.