ABOVE: Detail of a very early graphite concept drawing of a medeival Gïpan monarch in regal atire.
I love fantasy art and stories almost as much as I love sci-fi. I grew up on a mishmash of classic English nursery rhymes, tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur, Greek Mythology, Middle Eastern mythology, Irish mythology, Norse mythology, Chinese and Japanese folklore, Aesop's Fables and African mythology from Ancient Egyptian to myths and legends of Nilotic and Bantu-speaking tribes. Some of these stories were repeatedly told to me by my mother from when I was very small. I explored the rest on my own as I got older. I was also raised on Holy Bible scripture which call upon events that still cause people to speculate whether or not they happened as recorded or at all. All of these adventures and meaningful lessons from widely varied cultures, religions and cults influence the ancient past that I have imagined for Rädën.
I'm always interested in someone's creative depiction or retelling of "The Lord of the Rings", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", "Sinbad the Sailor" or "Ishikawa Goemon". Sometimes, artistic creativity and expression requires taking a popular and established concept, like "Cú Chulain", "Conan the Barbarian" and "King Shaka of the Zulu" and giving it new life. I once wrote to an amateur sculptor who created a resinoid cast of a stylized elven creature. What she did was brilliant, and I had to tell her so. No one could deny that this was beautiful work or that fantasy art can be taken seriously. This is what sci-fi and fantasy art is all about. Pushing envelopes and creating something different, even if it's not an original idea; like an elf. A sci-fi or fantasy artist should illustrate the concept in a style that is uniquely his or her own. Seeing great work from other artists also urges me to do better.
All this considered, for me nevertheless, the greatest aspect of my Rädën fantasy art projects is that I get to illustrate and tell stories that no one has ever seen or heard before. It's all from my head.
There are no elves, trolls, orcs, pegasus, dragons, sphinx or phoenix. The Gïpans have never heard of them before first contact with humans. This alien species invented their own mythologies, creatures and beings. Come and experience what it might be like to observe how chivalry, bushido, love and war might manifest in an extraterrestrial civilization.