January 19, 2018

Here's Something Cool: Arisia Art

        Here are a couple of my fellow artists from the Arisia Art Show this past weekend, whose work particularly tickled my fancy.  (They weren’t the only ones I liked - not by a long stretch, but if you want to see everyone who was involved, here’s the list of artists who showed at Arisia this year.)
        So, first the papier maché critters of Kimberly’s Creatures.  Their exterior is fabric, which makes them feel a little sturdier and more finished than just the newspaper interior construction.  Some are quite traditional dragons, and some are strange and wonderful variants of fish, birds,  insects, and who-knows-what.  Most are scaled, with plenty of horns and teeth.   They are definitely in the same family as Mexican folk art alebrijes.
        My daughter T and I each voted for a creature (although not the same one) as our favorite 3D work at Arisia.  These critters have such a nice whimsy: cute but not too cutesy.  Although there are certainly plenty that are similar to each other, each one is unique, and they have a bit of personality that makes them especially fun.  If there were any really small ones, I might have adopted one, but alas I really can’t take on the care of something so big (even the smallest are about a foot long).  So I simply admire them from afar, and share them with you.
        Second, an artist with a completely different medium, style, and content: Drew Merger of The Corey Press and his “traditional” block prints of aliens, cthulhu, and other weirdness.  Rather than cuteness, he celebrates the dark and grotesque.  In truth, much of his work is a little too dark and grotesque for me!  But what I do really enjoy is the way he plays with all those same traditional wood block prints that I’ve featured here in the past: Holbein’s Totentanz, Magnus’s History of the Nordic Peoples, Wolgemut’s Nuremberg Chronicle, Alciato’s Emblemata, and any number of broadsides and other early prints.  Some of his pieces are copied quite closely from old prints, with just the small matter of adding aliens or
monsters.  Others are more entirely new, but still in the style of early woodcuts.  My husband D especially enjoyed them.  Merger appears to carve in linoleum, but he prints on wood instead of paper, which is an interesting reversal of the traditional medium.
        And next month I’ll be on to the art show at Boskone 55.  I don’t know how many of the same fantasy artists will be there, but you can see that I’ll be in good company!

[Pictures: Larry, cloth and papier maché sculpture by Kimberly’s Creatures;
Haloisi (Sea Storm), cloth and papier maché sculpture by Kimberly’s Creatures;
Buck Toothed Merloc SunFish, cloth and papier maché sculpture by Kimberly’s Creatures (Images from Kimberly’s Creatures);
The Doom that Came to Westport, block print on wood by Drew Merger;
Ego Quid Videret (I Could See), block print on wood by Drew Merger (Images from The Corey Press).]

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