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Old 07-30-2003, 11:19 AM
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Surreal vs Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Can anyone explain the difference between surreal and fantasy/sci-fi art?
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Old 07-30-2003, 12:47 PM
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Surrealism was an art and literary movement. Fantasy is a genre.

Surrealism was an art movement in the early 20th century (think Dali) that grew out of the Dada movement. It focused on subconscious or dreamlike imagery and spurned rationalism. Modern day surrealist continue this by focusing on portraying the same sort of dreamlike or subconcious imagery.

Fantasy would technically encompass any art that is "fantastical" or "imaginary" in nature.

Think of it this way: Most surreal art can be considered a form of fantasy art, but most fantasy art is not surreal. The term "fantasy art" can encompass many different styles and movements. Within the fantasy genre, you can find abstract, surreal, classical realism, and many other styles.

Hope that makes sense.
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Old 07-30-2003, 01:02 PM
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Woosh, Elankat's explanation is far better than anything I could have come up with! What she said!

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Old 07-30-2003, 09:57 PM
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Ummm...yeah...that's what I was gonna say. El stole my thunder.
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:18 AM
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Really obvious differences...

Surrealist works are generally not considered 'illustration' by the 'high art' community. (Illustration is not often considered 'art' by the 'high art' crowd...)

Unlike science fiction and fantasy art, Surrealism is taken seriously by the fine art world...

Surrealism, though, is not 'escapist' art--as 'fantasy' art often is. Dealing with the subconscious, the Surrealists felt that they had something important to say/reveal about the human condition. They didn't want to escape from reality, they hoped to alter it.

Surrealism thus had a very strong political agenda.

Many of the Surrealists were socialists and/or Communists...

Suggested reading, the Surrealist Manifestos, by Andre Breton, et al:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

K
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:35 AM
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What I find interesting is that many periods in art history have their fair share of "fantasy" subject matter that is now viewed as "high art," but contemporary artists who deal with the very same subjects are considered illustrators or "low art."
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Old 08-01-2003, 01:23 AM
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Elan, I'm not sure that many contemporary fantasy artists are dealing with the same subjects as the Symbolists and Surrealists were.

Compare Julie Bell's or Frazetta's work, to Carlos Schwabe's and Jacek Malczewski's.

There is a difference...

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Old 08-01-2003, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Russell
Elan, I'm not sure that many contemporary fantasy artists are dealing with the same subjects as the Symbolists and Surrealists were.

Compare Julie Bell's or Frazetta's work, to Carlos Schwabe's and Jacek Malczewski's.

There is a difference...

K

I never said that I was specifically referring to the Surrealists. I said that many periods have "fantasy" subjects. Fairies, gods, goddesses, classical myth, Arthurian legend...these have all been subjects in various art periods/movements and were intended as nothing more than artistic interpretation of story or theme. These same subjects are shared by contemporary "fantasy" artists and the very same subject matter is part of what condemns the contemporary artist to a lesser status on the "fine art" scene. When I made the statement, the Pre-Raphaelites, in particular, came to mind. As for contemporary artists to compare, I was thinking along the lines of Froud, Lee, or some Stephanie Law. Not so much Frazetta or Bell.

Plus, you are comparing two "high fantasy" artists to surrealist/symbolist artists. I think that's like comparing apples and oranges. If I were to choose a contemporary fantasy artist to compare to surrealists, the first one who pops into my mind would be Whelan.

http://www.michaelwhelan.com/gallery...Galler yid=3#

There's probably others to compare, but I'm not as well-versed on fantasy artists as some here. Then again, a contemporary comparison to the surrealists wasn't really what I was getting at with my post.
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:10 AM
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I feel the need to clarify that I don't view illustration as low art or in any such manner. I believe that illustration can be fine art and vice versa. I was talking about how some people in art circles who use the term "illustration" as if it's a dirty word or some sort of lesser creation. I believe it's only lesser if the artist intends is unskilled or intends it to be lesser, just the same as the art in "fine art" circles.
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:22 PM
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Elan said:
"If I were to choose a contemporary fantasy artist to compare to surrealists, the first one who pops into my mind would be Whelan."

As much as I admire Whelan's work, he would not be among my first choices for 'modern day Surrealist'.

H.R. Giger (obvious)

Ernst Fuchs (also farily obvious, and rather 'official')

Gottfred Helnwein (some of his newer work, anyway)

Gil Bruvel

K
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Old 08-01-2003, 01:32 PM
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I never said he was my first choice of a modern day surrealist. I said he was the first who came to mind to compare to surrealism. It's not quite the same thing.

Like I said, I'm not very well-versed in contemporary fantasy artists. I know Giger, but I was thinking he was modern and not contemporary, but I guess he was doing all his work after 1950. Was just thinking he was older. Oops. Not familiar with the others.
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Old 08-01-2003, 02:41 PM
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Oops. It occurs to me that I may have read that wrong and you are listing YOUR first choices.

*sigh*

I need to get more sleep.
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:57 PM
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LeAnne, 'modern' and 'contemporary' are the same thing, as far as I know.

'Modern' (with a capital 'M'), though, is something else.

That period has ended, which is why we say we are in a 'Post-Modern' period.

Giger is still alive, has been working since the mid-60s, did his best painting in the late 70s, early 80s, and has been working in sculpture for the past few years.

K
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Old 08-01-2003, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Russell
LeAnne, 'modern' and 'contemporary' are the same thing, as far as I know.

K

Not on ebay. lol I probably should have capitalized. When I think modern, I think of turn of the century to about 1950 or 1960.

Yes, I realize that about Giger now. Went and looked at his biography and saw he was born in 1940. Then, I remembered that he did the alien in Alien. For some reason, I was just thinking he was older/earlier.
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Old 08-02-2003, 04:32 AM
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Thank you for the list of names, Keith and Elankat. Really instructive and... wow!

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