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In a modern twist of Gothic art, Gothic fantasy art depicts an ominous side of modern life with inspiration from fairy tales and fantasy creatures. While Gothic art was a major influence in Europe from the 12th to 15th centuries, this new take is less focused on gargoyles and more inspired from the modernized fantasy world.
Expect to find fairies, vampires, and the darker side of nature in gothic art. When Goth art was first introduced, it was included in everything from books to architecture. One of the most noted examples of Gothic art used in buildings and sculpture is found in the Cathedral of Notre Dame located in France, Paris.
Featuring hundreds of sculptures of grotesque and disfigured humans and animals on its facade, the Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. Then, by the early 16th century, Gothic art had been replaced by Renaissance-inspired foundations.
Today Gothic art has resurfaced all around the world from Spain to Seattle in the form of Gothic fantasy art.
One entertainment sensation that encouraged Gothic fantasy art was the game Dungeons and Dragons, which has been a highly successful game since the 1970s. In particular, the Ravenloft module of the game was fashioned around a Gothic horror-inspired fantasy world that belonged to the vampire Strahd von Zarovich. Dungeons and Dragons fans began drawing and painting scenes related to the game, thus directly influencing the birth of Gothic fantasy art.
As of the 1990s, the Gothic fantasy art world has been recreated through movies and literature. One of the first movies to inspire gothic fantasy art was “Interview with the Vampire,” based on a novel by the same name by Anne Rice.
The movie reached a huge audience and was widely successful, while a disappointment in its creation to the author and for one of the lead characters, Brad Pitt. Another vampire classic that was brought to the big screen in the early 1990s, and directed by famed Francis Ford Coppola, was “Dracula,” which was based on Bram Stoker’s definitive tale of the macabre. As a result of these films, vampire art was thrust into the mainstream as these creatures were romanticized and glorified.
Fantasy artists began exploring the dark side that was inspired by vampires, gloom, and misery rather than the cheery world of pixies and toadstools, which had previously taken the main stage.
Artists took to painting and sculpting to connect with their audience who was more interested with the Underworld and the more dangerous side of life. As a result, Gothic fantasy art exploded onto the scene.
Artists who create Gothic fantasy art-inspired works tend to look at the world through clouded and dreary lenses. Typical Gothic fantasy paintings utilize a monochromatic color scheme instead of brilliant and sunny hues.
Images include the villain, as well as the hero, yet often the scene is arranged so that the distinction between good and bad is askew. For instance, you may see an image of a fairy, but she will have fangs dripping with blood and a nonchalant look in her eyes.
There are several types of Gothic fantasy art that have made it to the mainstream. As previously stated, vampire art is one of the more popular styles, especially with the emergence of the latest vampire series, the Twilight Saga.
Gothic art depicting vampires tend to romanticize the plight of the vampire, as though the vampire’s power was no longer enough to keep the lonely creature satisfied. Another type of Gothic fantasy art is related to fairy tales. Horror-related imagery is used to recreate the archetypes of fairy tales, such as the evil stepmother and unfortunate stepdaughter.
There are several artists known worldwide for their work in the Gothic fantasy sub-genre. Victoria Frances has studied Fine Arts in Spain, and is fast-becoming one of the most loved artists in the Gothic fantasy art style. Her most recent book of illustrations, El Corazón de Arlene, is expected to be a success, after the much loved three-book series, Favole, Favole II, and Favole III.
Another highly respected Gothic fantasy artist is Brom. Born Gerald Brom from Georgia, Brom has been a professional Gothic fantasy artist since 1985. As well as illustrating for such noted businesses as Columbia Pictures and Coca-Cola, Brom also is a feature illustrator for video games and role-playing games including Wizards of the Coast, which is the updated Dungeons and Dragons game.
Jessica Galbreth is another Gothic fantasy artist who has helped this sub-genre to receive mainstream attention and success since 1999. Galbreth, who is from Ohio, is well-known all over the world in Japan, Australia, the US, and the United Kingdom. Her focus is on the dark side of fairy tales with watercolor and acrylic works depicting fairies and goddesses.
As Gothic fantasy art has its roots in the Dark Ages of Europe, many people think that the modernized version of Gothic art must be directly related to this bygone era. However, this is not the case at all. Gothic fantasy artists have simply taken the ideals related to the Dark Era of Europe, including the macabre, the madness, and the angst, and used it in translating more modern images. For instance, Brom is well-known for using imagery from the Wild West in the US in his Gothic fantasy art pieces. Other artists may take an illustration of a modern day person and transform the piece using the sorrow and fear of the Gothic imagery, such as the case with Victoria Frances.
A popular lifestyle in modern society that is related to Gothic fantasy art is called Emo, in which the individual is known for emoting emotions through their monochromatic-colored clothing, exaggerated body piercings, and despondent attitude.