It’s no secret that I am a big fan of poster art. I think the most vibrant, compelling, beautiful art being made today is coming out of the illustration and gig poster community. So it pleases me to tell you about Dan Grzeca’s gorgeous prints.
Dan does gig posters for indie darlings like Okkervil River, the Black Keys, and Iron + Wine, and his work features loosey-goosey lines that feel more like sketches than finished drawings. He uses organic motifs, animals, plants, freshly-ploughed fields, but my absolute favorites are the recurring images of RVs, houses, and house-animal hybrids on tall, mechanical legs with all sorts of crazy business coming out the windows. When I think of modern fairy tale art, Dan’s work comes immediately to mind. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll agree to illustrate the next Fairy Tale Factory collection!
The best part about these prints, for me, is that they’re priced between $30 and $60. Check them out.
If you’re a fan of the classic old fairy tale illustrators like Dulac and Rackham, you’ve probably enjoyed the many and marvelous artists coming up in the world of Pop Surrealism in the past decade or so. From intensely creepy (but still enchanting!) works from Ray Caesar to the light and sugary images of Julie West, magical landscapes and enchanted creatures seem to be hiding around every corner in the art world lately.
And I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
So it pleases me greatly to announce a new show by up-and-coming Dutch artist Femke Hiemstra at the Roq la Rue art gallery here in Seattle. Her beautifully realized paintings and drawings of magical creatures in the midst of peculiar circumstances make me swoon.
The show opens November 1, but if you can’t make it to Seattle you’ll have to content yourself with her marvelous blog and website. She’s got a rich online gallery and a nice selection of prints in her shop. Prints start around 80 euros, plus shipping, and are totally worth it.
Last month I got an e-mail from Elizabeth Lynn Shipe announcing the debut of her photo series: Reconstructing Grimm. Liz has taken on the challenge of illustrating her favorite fairy tales and kids’ stories with photographs. If you have ever tried to take a decent staged photograph of anything, you will probably appreciate what a heroic undertaking this is. You have to cast people as the characters, find and/or build the right sets, find the right costumes, and figure out just the right scenes to act out. It’s basically as complicated as a movie shoot, and often almost as expensive.
Here’s a nice one from her “Alice in Wonderland” shoot:
She’s also made a series of cute behind-the-scenes videos about her process:
If you’d like to see more fun photos and learn more about the lovely and talented Liz Shipe, hop on over to her blog and say, “Hi!”
How do the Japanese do Christmas? The clever folks over at Isetan hired Finnish illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi to design a Christmas campaign. The result is “How to Make Wonder Christmas,” a collection of short, wonderfully illustrated vignettes that would do Lewis Carroll proud.
Plucked directly from the glowing heart of BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow:
“I’m a great fan of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics and its numerous spinoffs (nutshell description: all fictional characters, legends, and fables are actually alive, always have been, and are living in secret exile in New York, having been chased out of Fableland by “The Adversary,” a rapacious conqueror).
One of the most fun of these is the Jack books, which feature a set of parallel adventures of Jack — as in “Spratt” and “and the Beanstalk” and many other tales. Jack is handsome, womanizing, preternaturally lucky and cheerfully amoral doofus of a fable who is forever incurring the wrath of the Fable establishment by violating their rules by, say, pursuing a career as a Hollywood executive (he fits right in in Tinseltown, naturally).”
What do we read them for, and how do we read them? We read for the telling, for the “and then he … and then she … and so it turned out …” as far as “they lived happily ever after”, which takes the story out of the time of the telling. Aristotle said you could have tragedy without character; he was right – and we can also have stories without character or feeling. Maria Tatar, the Harvard expert on children’s literature, feels that children read such tales typically by siting themselves in the world of the tales as fascinated onlookers or audiences, not as part of the closed world of the story. Reading in this way is a particular and necessary pleasure, quite different from reading for instruction, or identification with feeling.
Kate Bernheimer is (a) the founder and editor of the Fairy Tale Review (a journal devoted to new fairy tales), and (b) a bang-up author. She’s just given a terrific intereview over here, and you’d be remiss not to read it.
A juicy excerpt:
…[M]eanness is a very important trope in many of the fairy tales that fascinate me. It’s true that while American popular culture has canonized female fairy-tale characters with hearts of gold, in fact the “main characters” of fairy tales are extremely varied: as many stupid, clumsy, boring, mean, ugly, plain, deficient, weird, pathetic, and sad characters as there are “good” ones. So actually, the “main characters” of many fairy tales are cruel.