Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fantasy in Films and Magazines

This week, Variety announced the top ten worldwide films of 2010 (measured by gross box office return):

1. Toy Story 3: 1,064 million
2. Alice in Wonderland: 1,024 million
3. Harry Potter: 895
4. Inception: 824
5. Shrek Forever After: 743
6. Twilight Saga Eclipse: 654
7. Iron Man 2: 623
8. Despicable Me: 542
9. How to Train Your Dragon: 496
10. Clash of the Titans: 494
...and that was right on the heels of last year’s Avatar, which grossed 1,953 million.

All of those top ten are arguably fantasy or science fiction films. Four of them are animated. Since motion pictures are today’s culturally dominant art form, it’s safe to say that fantasy and imagination are squarely in the mainstream of our collective consciousness.

Which is why, perhaps, the art magazines are featuring fantasy more and more. ImagineFX, Juxtapoz, and Hi Fructose are completely dedicated to imagination.

And as Jobot mentioned in yesterday's comments, the new February / March issue of International Artist has a special feature on fantasy illustration, edited by Rebecca Guay. It spotlights the faculty of the Illustration Master Class, including regulars like Donato Giancola and Greg Manchess (above: left and center), Dan Dos Santos, Scott Fischer, Julie Bell, and Boris Vallejo. This year there will also be visiting teachers like Peter de Sève and Iain McCaig (above, right) and I'll be tagging along, too.

If you want to see more imaginative art covered in your favorite art magazine, let the editors know! They will listen to you.
Image ©Disney from "Alice in Wonderland Trailer"
Illustration Master Class
Variety magazine
International Artist magazine
ImagineFX  magazine
Juxtapoz magazine
Hi Fructose magazine
Read about Donato, Greg, and other IMC'ers at Muddy Colors
Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell


Suciô Sanchez said...

Excellent post. I'd argue that video games are at least equal to film as the culturally dominant art form (developers just need to lose their "cultural cringe"). Of course, that only reinforces the importance of fantasy as a genre.

David Glenn said...

I enjoyed some of those movies. They were really good.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the abundance of sci-fi/fantasy entertainment these days, but I can't shake the memory of something I read in Heavy Metal magazine decades ago, in an editorial response to inquiries about why they didn't seem concerned about their relatively low circulation and popularity of the genre in general. I forget the author but he said it might not be such a bad thing because stuff that gets too big in popularity seems to always get so co-opted that the original spirit and vitality are lost.
I doubt that sci-fi/fantasy overall could be taken down by such, because of their freedom to openly deal with such issues, but it's a concern.

Ha!Ha! The captcha word is brandism!

Gordon Napier said...

Movies are indeed the dominant art form of our age, which is a good thing because they combine elements of most older art forms, i.e. writing, visual art and music. Historical Epic and fantasy films are more natural heirs to the great artistic tradition than modern gallery art is. Movies need popular appeal and accessibility in order to make money, a factor that saves them from the obscurantism and elitism that has taken over so-called fine art.

Claire said...

It is worth noting that worldwide box office returns are now heavily skewed because of 3D ticket prices, and most if not all 3D films tend to be large-scale epics.

Not that that in any way changes the fact that Hollywood is fantastically receptive to the sci fi/fantasy genres right now- which is great for those of us who depend on them as entertainment and for a living- but I'd be curious to see how the numbers would look when it comes to actual ticket sales. It's impressive to see Inception so high up on the list as one of the few films that didn't have a 3D release, though it's got Twilight right there on its heels. :)


Pyracantha said...

When I was studying art and creative writing in high school and college, in the late 60s and early 70s, any fantasy material was taboo.

Unknown said...

There is only one thing in your post that bothers me a little :I think we can't determine that an art form is a "dominant" one just because it is prolific. Art is a perception that cannot be quantified, everyone feels a different way about a perception.
More than often, in psychology, we say that it's the "violence" of a feeling that impacts us, not the repetition of the same "dull" feeling.
And I think art impacts us more in a psychologic way, so I guess we can say that the way we percieve a piece of art ressembles the way we percieve any feeling or event in life.

I also think that this "crush" on fantasy is a western phenomenon, and acts on a western consciousness, but it is not global. I feel there is a growing interest in spirituality, especially in the western civilisation. Maybe there is a link between this and fantasy art form. But again, there is so much more than motion pictures in art (and what about non-visual art for instance?)

Daniel Silberberg said...

Not to mention three fantasy/scifi films (Inception, Black Swan, Toy Story) are best picture nominees!