Fantasy's biggest strength and greatest weakness is that it's a fan-based art form. People read it, draw it, and learn to write it, all because they love it. But few actually will go the lengths to study it, instead spending all their time writing or drawing or whatever.
So whenever someone comes along who is both amazingly educated and understand what fantasy is, it's always amazing work.
Right now a friend of mine, Kristi Kirisberg, is having her senior art show on BYU campus. I met her through ballroom and for the longest time didn't know she was an artist. But after seeing her show I can say she is one of those few artists who get both the imagination and the art behind Fantasy.
There are so many fantasy artists out there who can draw dragons and pictures of their favorite characters from fiction, but it never has that something that touches your soul and makes the picture's subjects real people. On the other hand, there are many good painters who can give you real, live people on the canvas with their own unique feelings and emotions, but they have no idea what we as fantasy enthusiasts are all about. Makes me think of the pictures of slutty fairies you'll see at some Asian Import and Martial Hobby stores.
But Kristi gets it. She's had all the schooling, all the talent, all the practice it takes to be a world-class artists, with a sensibility to the imagination few artists have. Her fighters aren't fanboy depictions of women with weapons, they look like real people. Her mystical settings aren't showing off a location, they're evoking emotion in. I think my favorite is when seen in person. It's never as good online as seeing in real life, but check out her website if you can't see the show. And if you can see the show, it's in the middle of the Harrison Fine Arts Center right now.
I guess that's where true art happens in our genre. If you get David Farland's newsletter, you realize the man isn't just imaginative, he's educated to a scary degree. This is a man who's studies literary theory, Dramatica, the classics, Joseph Campbell, Shakespeare, and all the best authors he could find. He's not just doing the writing, he's learned what it takes to be the best. Listening to him talk sometimes is scary when you learn just what he's done to get where he is.
No one can survive in art anymore without education. I lucked out and got a wife with a huge literary education I can talk to, but seeing Kristi's work gives me a whole new appreciation of what's involved to be good at your art form.
See you all in Print,