Hi, everyone! Irene kindly asked me if I would like writing about some of the older fantasy-based art out there, an offer I’ve gratefully accepted. So I’ll be focusing on some of the great illustration that has inspired and shaped modern artists we admire.
Irene’s recent trip to the Waterhouse exhibition in Montreal sparked some interesting thoughts for me. Waterhouse’s work is undeniably beautiful—and evocative—but, despite the obvious love of women in his paintings, you can’t help wondering if they’re the subjects of his pictures, or perhaps in fact the objects. The femininity we see in his images is draped with Victorian concerns, and those concerns can be quite sexist.
Waterhouse (and his spiritual brethren in the pre-Raphaelite movement) has been tremendously influential in illustrating the fantastic, but what I’m going to do is look at some of the other artists working around this time. We’ll see how the same stylistic tics and influences emerge, but there’s a sense of interplay—of experimentation and even perhaps levity—that I think makes for more ambiguous, interesting images. Images that have, in my opinion, ultimately shaped just as much contemporary illustration.
[read some more]