Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Future-Historical Fantasy

We think of science fiction as (usually) depicting the future, but what if it was really the past? Imagine a civilization far past its prime, or just recovered from a dreadful crash that forced them to start all over again, but they still retained their memories and history and images of their past. Their technology was forgotten or destroyed, but they could still see what it had been like. Spaceships like this would be the "future past," and if the civilization was lucky enough to avoid another debacle, might be the future future as well.

When I painted this picture in 1990, I thought it was a failure. I took a chance on the unusual angle of the spaceship, even though in space, there is no "up," "down," or "slanted." Nevertheless art viewers want their spaceships to be as perpendicular as cars or buildings, or at least appear to be moving to justify any unusual angle. I was also trying desperately to reproduce the ultraslick, "brushed-aluminum" techno-sheen of the Art Center College of Design look. That look hasn't changed in the 20 years since I did this piece, except it's all done digitally now, and I still aspire to it.

I look at a lot of other people's art, both fantasy, science fiction, and architecture. The almighty Web brings me loads of art, new stuff every day. I feel less and less competent when I look at the good stuff. I don't feel more competent when I look at the scribblings of amateurs. That's not who I compare my work to. Even if I don't sell a single picture, I still want to do that professional-style fantasy and science fiction art. But gosh, haven't I grown out of it by now? I feel embarrassed that in my middle age I still want to do fantasy and s.f. subjects, rather than the dignified mathematical abstractions of my "high art" line or my cozy Virginia landscapes, suitable for a mature person.

"Future-Historical Fantasy" is acrylic on illustration board, 10" x 14", August 1990.

1 comment:

Tristan Alexander said...

The colors, angles and design of this is realy nice. I think "Space art" or whatever you want to call this should have a different take on orientation. I prefer the angle to the level, normal, earth bound orinetations.

As I have said before, your stuff is just as good as any of the pro stuff I see and you should not feel like you are not as good. Also, why do you always see "Fantasy" or "SciFi" as LESS than other styles? Howard Pyle (sp?), Maxfeild Parish, J.C. Leyendecker and many many many other GREAT artists did Fantasy and or SciFi as well as other stuff. But the Fantasy and SciFi stuff they did is not thought of as lesser works than the landscapes or whatever! Just becuase some modern galleries are snobs (as they have always been) has NO bearing on the quality or value of your work!