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Fantasy - Realistic art - what do you think?

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Ifat Glassman
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These two painters have the best technique I have ever seen, they were and are my inspiration for the perfect technique. Their art emphasizes human fitness (strength of body) and is based on imagination.

Check it out for yourself: Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell.

What, do you think, are the ideas behind this art? And would you give credit to the imagination that was required to create them or would you disqualify it for not being "real life"?

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Boris Vallejo is a fantastic painter, however his ideal of the perfect male form is not mine so I'm not especially partial to his paintings . . . I find men with that excess of muscle to be somewhat grotesque. It's impressive, but not attractive (at least not to me, much in the way spitting a cherry pit 40 feet would be).

As far as disqualifying fantasy art for not being "real life", that is a load of hooey. Photography is not art for a reason. (It can be extremely artistic, but it's not art.) Artists don't simply paint whatever they happen to see, they select what they think is important of all the things they have seen and then make it visible.

Fury, passion, strength, grace, elegance . . . all these are noble things to see in life.

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While I will admit the artist is very talented, I have to admit that fantasy art of this sort has always struck me as bordering on softcore porn. This form basically derives from art put on the covers of pulp fiction, which strives to titillate enough to get the person to pick up the book.

I suppose that might be my bias where I don't see art that seems to be intended to generate sexual arousal as being at the same time an artistic celebration of the human form (or more concisely - porn isn't art).

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I agree about the excessive muscle thing. It seems that their concept of heroism is strongly based of physical fitness. This concept of a hero would suit best the time when men's civilisation and technology were unadvanced, which is also a strong motive in their work. Other than their incredible technique, I also admire the immagination that goes into their work. ot all their paintings suit my sense of life (in fact most do not) but some of them are just beautiful...

Another artist which has interested me is Luis Royo. I'm very interested in understanding the ideas behind his work. Before I give the link I have to warn you and also tell you about the kind of art he makes:

Quite a lot of his work is erotic/ satan worshiping. Now, don't let that deter you :thumbsup: because other than that, his paintings have tremendouse talent in technique, but most of all in the imagination and creativity that goes into them. he, also puts an emphasis on heroism. After looking at his works for years, I managed to identify some motives in his work. the main one being a conflict between dark and light, evil and dark. He paints the beautiful and innocent side by side with the monstrouse and ugly: Wings of reflection. Here is an example of the creativity in his work: Looking into the sun, an example of one of his paintings that describe a woman hero silver glass I detail, and an example of an adventure (this is one of my favorites) : the hormone jungle.

If anyone would like to see any more (but dont say I didnt warn you about the erotic and the satan-worshiping stuff): Luis Royo official website.

If anyone seen enough of his work and would like to say what they think are the ideas in the basis of his art I would love to hear. I'm interested in this question for a long long time. I want to know what is the reason that he has a side of obviouse romantic realism, and a side of dark satan stuff, and the ideas behind his workd.

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Boris Vallejo is a fantastic painter, however his ideal of the perfect male form is not mine so I'm not especially partial to his paintings . . . I find men with that excess of muscle to be somewhat grotesque.

I think most women would agree with you there. I find that a little strange... to me, this would be very close to male perfection(I would perhaps have given him slightly smaller pectorals and a deeper ribcage, which I think would make him look slender but stronger):

http://www.imaginistix.com/paintingsdetails.cfm?Id=51

But then i´m not actually attracted to men, which could be why we see it so differently.

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I think most women would agree with you there.

Some people I know did some unofficial surveys and found the same thing. All the women surveyed described the very large steroid-sized bodybuilder types as "grotesque" (or similar).

I'm not saying it's not attractive to anyone; it just might not be as universal as some assume.

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I think most women would agree with you there. I find that a little strange...

Weeeell . . . I'm not 100% on why that is, but first-glance introspection on my part seems to indicate that I, at least, prefer men with an elegant shape . . . flat planes that are faintly curved, and curves that look sharp and angular. I know that sounds weird, but I'm not sure how else to describe it.

Bodybuilders (of that degree) don't curve slightly, they bulge, and the graceful angularity of their joints vanishes in layers of muscle. Plus, they always look like something's about to rip.

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Some people I know did some unofficial surveys and found the same thing. All the women surveyed described the very large steroid-sized bodybuilder types as "grotesque" (or similar).

I'm not saying it's not attractive to anyone; it just might not be as universal as some assume.

If you by "very large steroid-sized bodybuilder" mean something like todays Mr. Olympia I would have to agree with the ladies(even though the daredevil is incredibly muscular I think there is a big difference).

From what I have noticed most women don´t even like normal but "cut" physiques. Six-pack abs seem to be more the mens ideal than womens. And the other way around, alot of (young) women want to look like thin models - but I dont know many men who find that attractive.

This is of course very generally speaking and only from my own observations.

Weeeell . . . I'm not 100% on why that is, but first-glance introspection on my part seems to indicate that I, at least, prefer men with an elegant shape . . . flat planes that are faintly curved, and curves that look sharp and angular. I know that sounds weird, but I'm not sure how else to describe it.

Bodybuilders (of that degree) don't curve slightly, they bulge, and the graceful angularity of their joints vanishes in layers of muscle. Plus, they always look like something's about to rip.

What I see is strength, agility and grace - and a body that functions uncompromised. He´s got broad shoulders, thick neck, strong legs, V-shaped torso(but without a ridiculously thin waist)... and the muscles are not hidden, and the bodys function is not compromised, by thick layers of fat - every part is well defined, and you can see the veins feeding the muscles. It´s like instead of hiding the bodys construction he´s showing it.

However I can see that some think it´s "too much". When I look at todays pro-bodybuilders I see freakishly bloated muscles(especially midsections from all the growth hormones), and dangerously low bodyfat levels that almost give the impression of looking through their skin.

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I agree with the "too much" sentiment. A man who bulges looks as if he values physical looks highly enough to spend a few hours a day working out rather than doing something I would value higher (a more intellectual activity). Even the Daredevil picture qualifies as 'too much' for me, even if the muscles are something he needs for his job. I would never find a man like that physically attractive. It's like he's saying 'I am man, hear me roar, but you won't hear me do anything more interesting.' A person's physique shows a great deal about what they value, and men with bulging muscles rarely value the same things I do. A healthy body is a good thing, but choosing body over mind is not something I prefer.

Edit: Rand also seemed to prefer the body shape JMeganSnow put forth - weren't Roark and Galt much thinner and angular rather than bulgy? That's my preferred physique, as well.

Edited by miseleigh
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As far as I'm concerned, too much = you can hold a writing implement under or between your pectoral muscles by flexing them.

I also don't want to be thin like a supermodel because I've learned over time that even could I achieve said standard (yeah, right) I still wouldn't look like a supermodel: I'd look like a gigantic woman with some horrible wasting disease. So I'm thinking that the "ripped" look is more the one that I personally should aim for, and how perverse is that?

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Similarly, I will never be able to get to the "bulging, insane" level of musculature due to my genetics. I can and have put on a lot of muscle... for a guy with my frame. Very few people are actually capable of getting that kind of physique without steriods... and for most it requires an unhealthy (low) level of body fat.

It reminds me of racing. Most "cars" that you see racing on tracks aren't even remotely capable of driving on the street. It's become so much about speed that they're no longer racing cars, per se.

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I agree with the "too much" sentiment. A man who bulges looks as if he values physical looks highly enough to spend a few hours a day working out rather than doing something I would value higher (a more intellectual activity). Even the Daredevil picture qualifies as 'too much' for me, even if the muscles are something he needs for his job. I would never find a man like that physically attractive. It's like he's saying 'I am man, hear me roar, but you won't hear me do anything more interesting.' A person's physique shows a great deal about what they value, and men with bulging muscles rarely value the same things I do. A healthy body is a good thing, but choosing body over mind is not something I prefer.

Edit: Rand also seemed to prefer the body shape JMeganSnow put forth - weren't Roark and Galt much thinner and angular rather than bulgy? That's my preferred physique, as well.

I think you are making the misconception that exercise has to be primitive and unintellectual. For alot of bodybuilders that would probably be the case, especially for some om the more extreme ones who sacrifice health and well-being with drugs just so they can build more muscle. I don´t think that is rational, and it´s putting way too much value in looks(or more specifically, muscle) - sacrificing much more important things.

Exercise however, can be about body and mind. Just the process of working out can take alot of focus and willpower. The health benefits also helps your mind work better. And when working out you actually apply your ideas to a physical activity.

So, what i´m trying to say is that even though you value physical looks(and the other benefits of exercise, all of which are rational values) you can still hold intellectual values in very high regard.

I´m not saying you are wrong in valuing things differently, and I sure wont try to tell you what you should find attractive(I would also find Rand´s heroes attractive, by the way. I just dont agree that big muscles imply a mindless brute.

And regarding time spent working out, two hours a day of any hard form exercise would send anyone to the hospital and could, in fact, kill you. Mr. Daredevil there is more likley to spend alot of time eating, and cooking. And don´t tell me you wont like a man who can cook! :pimp:

Similarly, I will never be able to get to the "bulging, insane" level of musculature due to my genetics. I can and have put on a lot of muscle... for a guy with my frame. Very few people are actually capable of getting that kind of physique without steriods... and for most it requires an unhealthy (low) level of body fat.

It reminds me of racing. Most "cars" that you see racing on tracks aren't even remotely capable of driving on the street. It's become so much about speed that they're no longer racing cars, per se.

It´s true genetics make it impossible for most men to come even close to that physique.

(Unless you´re thinking of drag-racing cars I think you can make even a Formula 1 car driveable on the street, if you give it less downforce and softer suspension. It wont be comfortable of course, but who needs comfort when you have an F1-car? :lol: )

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(Unless you´re thinking of drag-racing cars I think you can make even a Formula 1 car driveable on the street, if you give it less downforce and softer suspension. It wont be comfortable of course, but who needs comfort when you have an F1-car? :huh: )

Those are mostly overgrown go-karts when you think about it. Or four wheel motorcycles. Damn fast ones, though.

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  • 1 month later...

I would like to remind you all that this is the Visual arts section, and not the physical fitness section! Thank you!

Here is one painting of Julie Bell that I really adore: The wildness of it, the deliberation: it's just beautiful:

The competition

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I would like to remind you all that this is the Visual arts section, and not the physical fitness section! Thank you!

These are not necessarily different things. It's basically impossible to talk about paintings of people without discussing what makes people esthetically pleasing to look at, now is it?

Michael Whelan is one of my favorite fantasy artists, and there are a couple of good examples of how he handles the male figure (Elric and the Sinking City, to be specific).

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These are not necessarily different things. It's basically impossible to talk about paintings of people without discussing what makes people esthetically pleasing to look at, now is it?

Common, the only thing missing were a poll of favorite bodybuilders and links to great gyms in the neighborhood :P .

I agree that a discussion of what makes people Aesthetic is most relevant, as long as reasons are provided (like some have done). But talking about how to accomplish those tasks on individual level, or how many people in the world are attracted to X is not very relevant to art.

Michael Whelan is one of my favorite fantasy artists, and there are a couple of good examples of how he handles the male figure (Elric and the Sinking City, to be specific).

I liked The gun Slinger. He rocks! But I didn't like the rest so much. Too colorful and toy-ish.

And, of course, let us not forget Keith Parkinson, now unfortunately deceased from leukemia.

Naa, I prefer paintings with less people in one painting. It gives me a feeling that individuals are the main thing and not "events" like war.

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I also wasn't a fan of those artists. Neither had much connection to reality (not meaning the subject matter but the actual representation), and I thought they had a very poor idea of good composition. I liked Parkinson less than Whelan because everything seemed to be frozen. For instance, in The Marketplace, the people look like they must have been moving because of their poses, but that's just it: they look like they're posing. Even in The War, several paintings down, the smoke from the guns looks as though it is a solid object, like plastic, frozen in the air.

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I liked [url="http://www.michaelwhelan.com/gallerydetailblowup.asp?vsImageName="]The gun Slinger. He rocks! But I didn't like the rest so much. Too colorful and toy-ish.

Whelan's use of dramatic color is one of the primary reasons I like him. Not everything in life is subdued.

Naa, I prefer paintings with less people in one painting. It gives me a feeling that individuals are the main thing and not "events" like war.
Some of Parkinson's paintings can be crowded with details, but I very much enjoy how he depicted action scenes. His characters appear dramatic without looking stiff.

a very poor idea of good composition.

As compared with what? What do you base your ideas of good composition on?

Edited by JMeganSnow
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You have to remember the context of what Whelen, Parkinson, Boris and Julie Bell are (were) doing for a living. They are book cover illustrators, they are concerned with pleasing the client (the book publisher) and hopefully get a book sold.

As book illustrators, Whelen and Parkinson were very concerned about getting the environment and setting of their covers correct, based on novel excerpts sent to them by the publishers. They were very good at it.

Boris and Julie Bell and the master Frazetta's approach was to basically knock out potential book buyers with images of hot women and muscle-bound men. You really can't tell much about a book by a Boris cover - the setting is almost always a misty swirl of color!

Whelen will try to get a reader interested by showing a bit of the story being told, Boris gets you to pull the book from the shelf with his fantastic imagery.

As to Whelen being too colorful, his over saturated palette is intentional, he's trying to get you to pick up the damn book! Look at the example of "The Gunslinger". He used an ambient yellow light, everything is a yellow wash except the red bandana - it's intended to get your attention - he's trying to set it apart from the crowd of books it's sitting next to.

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Thanks BryanG, I didn't think about the art in the context of a book cover. I will thus have to retract my statement about poor composition, JMeganSnow, because when I crop the images for wrap-around and text, I do not have problems with the composition. In fact, some of it is quite good.

I wanted to compose a post about my favorite artist, Craig Mullins, but I realize now that this isn't the appropriate thread for it. Since I do not know much about the fantasy art genre and what the actual readers are looking for, which I would assume is what the artists are aiming for as BryanG pointed out, I do not think I am in a good position to provide judgement about the style, within its confines.

I will say, however, that I do not like fantasy art if these artists are good examples of the genre. To give an example why, take the following comparison:

Keith Parkinson,

237328552_28a32651cf_o.jpg

Michael Whelan,

237328550_0875a758a4_o.jpg

and Craig Mullins.

237324083_4d9d661fc8_o.jpg

If anyone thinks the first two could have created the last, I will have to say, "Highly doubtful." But check out Mullin's site. His work is insanely good.

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