The US illustrator believes today’s artists should focus on storytelling
Is violent imagery increasingly widespread in fantasy art?
I would say yes. I’m not all that hung up on it, I just don’t have time for it. In my opinion, overly violent imagery is a cheap shot. Most of the time I can’t shake the feeling the artist took the easy way out. It’s much harder to do something beautiful and elegant with heart that’s not saccharine.
Is the use of violent imagery really a new thing?
Not exactly, but I do think it’s intensified. Playing it safe in fantasy art means macabre, violent and, at times, terribly sexist imagery. To me, it’s just lazy and uncreative. The struggle between good and evil never ceases to be exciting. But when the grotesque is glorified and beauty is seen as childish or weak, then we’ve taken a serious misstep.
So how should an artist express certain darker moods?
I’m drawn to this field because I believe ‘imaginative realism’ prizes draftsmanship, storytelling and imagination: the absolute magic and mystery of Charles Vess, the dark waterfalls of Paul Bonner, the gorgeous figure work of Rebecca Guay and the wondrous creatures of Tony DiTerlizzi – they all inspire my own creativity. I have no time for gore and despair.