This article prompted me to do a quick hunt in my personal library for a book of fairy tales, which has been in my possession for at least 15 years. The slightly dog-eared cover yielded what I was searching for - the name of Arthur Rackham. I didn't realise it back when I was a little girl, but here I had a book illustrated by one of the most influential artists in the world of fantasy: an artist whose whimsical, richly-detailed style inspired the next generation of artists - this generation.
Arthur Rackham, famous for his delightful watercolour illustrations done for many children's book and classics, was born in London on 19th September 1867. He began drawing at a young age and later studied in the Lambeth School of Art. During his studies he worked as a clerk, a job he left in 1892 to pursue a career in illustrating. After years of searching for a personal style, his breakthrough came with Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle in 1905 - Rackham's first major book. It contained all characteristic of what we identify today as absolute Arthur Rackham.
In November 2002, Duirwaigh Gallery will play host to an online art show honouring the imagination and works of Arthur Rackham. "There will be none of Rackham's work in the show," said Angi Sullins, proprietor of the gallery. "This is a tribute, honouring his influence in the lives and careers of many artists." A Tribute to Arthur Rackham will feature art created specially for the show by artists like Kinuko Craft, Peter Pracownik, Brian & Wendy Froud, David Delamare and Amy Brown.
Budding artists out there will be interested to know that the show will run concurrently with An Emerging Artists contest, for amateurs and non-professionals. Duirwaigh Gallery is accepting 2D and 3D work influenced by illustrators of the Romantic Tradition (Dulac, Rackham, Outhwaite, Wyeth, Wicox Smith). The bad news is the contest is only for artwork done in traditional (non-digital) media. Angi feels that this is appropriate, seeing that it was being held with the Rackham show. "There is no digital art in this year's show, as we wanted to stick with traditional art forms." She explained. "Next year, we'll allow digital art, and it will have its own category."
Among the judges for the contest are Wendy Froud and Marilyn Radzat for the 3D category; Robert Gould (illustrator for the Michael Moorcock 'Elric' novels and owner of Imaginosis) and David Delamare (artist, author and illustrator of over 10 books) for the 2D category.
A Tribute to Arthur Rackham premieres on 31st October and will run through 30th November 2002. The Emerging Artists contest closes on the 20th November. For more information, visit Duirwaigh Gallery at www.DuirwaighGallery.com.