always had a deep interest in archeology, history, and
mythology. I love good stories of fantastic things, and I love
the romance of heroic fantasy. Unlike many fantasy artists who
formed their styles from comic book interests, movies and games,
my artistic interest was rooted more in epic bardic tales like
Beowulf, the Arthurian legends, the Tales of the Arabian Nights,
and the ancient myths of Mediterranean cultures and Scandinavia.
While my colleagues were inspired by the elves of current pop
culture, I was reading legends of what real people in history
thought elves were like in the old world, and visualizing them
through the eyes of artists like Arthur Rackham. This affected
my style and my entire sensibility as a Fantasy artist.
I had it in
my mind that I was going to create visions of playful
and believable alternate realities. My art is full of the fanciful,
and at the same time I paint the details so that the viewer can
believe that they are looking at something that could be real.
To me, a fantasy painting is a story, and I believe a story is
most successful when the audience finds it easy and compelling
to suspend their disbelief. I revel and delight in the "realistic"
presentation of the incredible and fantastic. To me, this is what
makes fantasy art fun.
Not all of
my fantasy art is for publication. When
I can paint subjects from my own inspiration I usually find myself
using my art to express concepts with some kind of message. This
may be a comment on political or cultural issues, or even imagining
a "what-if" situation to be considered by the viewer.
An example is the Flying Tiger/Pouncing Dragon painting which
depicts an American Volunteer aviator flying for the Chines during
the second world war. A Japanese aircraft in pursuit is snatched
from the sky by a Chinese style dragon. The Chinese emblem is
transparent in the sky. The message being that when two very divergent
cultures come together, together they can overcome the greatest
of challenges. In this case he people of the United States came
to help save a China fighting for survival, and the spirit of
the Chinese people returns support in the form of the dragon.
In our world today there is a co-dependency between the US and
China, and a deep mistrust. The message is to remind us how well
these two peoples can work together for good when they have a
mind to do so.