I don't usually
think favorably of extreme ideas or extreme ways of doing things. Mostly, this
is because I've found that sensible ideas often come with compromise. And in
many ways, I think this applies to my ideas about fantasy art.
I love fantasy
art, science fiction books, and imaginative storytelling and movies. But in
certain crowds, fantasy pictures and sci-fi art get a bad reputation because they
are so extreme. I know I've said it
before, and I'll say it again: There is a way to temper realistic imagery with
more fantastical images. Artists do it all the time.
|Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps
by Kehinde Wiley, oil on canvas, 9' x 9', 2005.
Case in point:
Kehinde Wiley. He is one of my favorite artists because he's so clever, taking
historical visual tropes and combining them with contemporary figures or
objects, often making a political point or referencing social issues. But the
artist also manufactures an altered reality in his work. His "fantasy" art is
decidedly of the here and now--there is no mistaking what Wiley represents as
reality, which makes the work all the more interesting. He is elevating fantasy
images by inflating them with big ideas and meanings, as well as playing with
the idea of reality, fantasy, fact, and fiction.
I'm a sucker
for an artist who plays by his or her own set of rules,
and Wiley does just that. If you are interested in other great artists who
steer their own visions and produce interesting work that just so happens to be
part of the fantasy-art realm, look no farther than the American Artist fantasy-art issue and our Color & Light Premium Palette, which
includes famed fantasy artist James Gurney's book on the subject. These
resources can teach you how to build fantasy pictures from conception to
execution, making it possible for you to take your ideas--no matter how out of
this world--and make them into reality, at least on your painting surface.