It's true. I wince when I say it, even after all these years, I can't say it with a perfectly straight face. It's not the subject I detest, of course. It's the connotations that it drums up for me (and many others): Tinkerbell (Disney version), crazy old ladies who claim to see them in the potted plants on the kitchen window, pink tulle, prancing, and worst of all... really, really bad art. And lots of it.
I always feel like I have to defend myself when I say, "I make fairy art." People scrunch up their noses and say, "Oh, really?" in such a way that I might have well just said "I finger paint glitter while barefoot in the moonlight while the invisible little folk that live in my sofa do a happy jig on the ceiling." It's like all my years in art school just flushed down the toilet, my IQ just dropped 40 points and I probably can't draw anatomy to save my life. It's okay to say "children's illustration", "Rackham-esque art" or just "fairytale art", but fairy art just has a really bad rap with the general public. And fairy artists, even worse.
I know that fairy art isn't the dribble most people think it is; this was the impetus for FAERIE three years ago. With the help of local illustrator and workshop developer Tara Larsen Chang, we pulled together many of the most notable fairy artists of our current time, people like Amy Brown, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Gary Lippincott and of course, Brian Froud. We also introduced up and comers such as Yoann Lossel, Emily Fiegenschuh and Heather Hudson to the mix. It was a huge success, with artwork more sophisticated than cute, some of it dark and mysterious, but more importantly, very well done.
|Forgotten Gods, Yoann Lossel, from FAERIE I|
|Wizzard, Darlene Nelson|
|The Hidden, Mark Winters|
|Beetle Battle, Omar Rayyan|
|Selkie Pup, Christina Hess|
|Portrait of a Young Faerie Girl, Renae Taylor|
|Elder, Cory Godbey|
|Ptelea, Annie Stegg-Gerard|
|The Faun of Ptelea, Justin Gerard|
Blue skinned elven woman dominated many canvases, which was a little interesting since I don't think any of those artists actually saw each other's work prior to the show (with the exception of Sara and Mark Winters). Lindsey Look and Paul Tobin literally live a world apart, yet their fairies were similar enough to make the viewer take notice.
|Specimen #406, Lindsey Look|
|Dryad, Paul Tobin|
|Blue Fairy, Marc Scheff|
|Midsummer Dreaming, Tory Taber|
|Night Sounds, Amy Brown|
Incidentally, Wylie Beckert's formula for painting MUST be cracked: her painting doesn't even look real - and yet, it is. Could you guess that this piece is a 24 x 30" mixed media oil painting?
|Fairy Brew, Wylie Beckert|
I absolutely insist you look over the Catalog (only available until the show ends April 4th), read the wonderful statements, and if you are in Seattle this month, make your way down to see the FAERIE's live, before the flit away for another year.
~Julie Baroh, March 2015