Friday, February 04, 2005

Why I Adore Lisa Snellings

OK, time for a change of pace here. Too much downy-clowny lately. Let's try to focus on something wonderful for a change.

And by "wonderful," I mean Lisa Snellings-Clark.

Not sure why, but yesterday, out of the blue, Lisa Snellings crossed my mind, so I Googled her to see what she's been up to, professionally. Snellings is a tremendously talented artist that I've had the good fortune to meet, briefly, about 3 or 4 times. Her work is spectacularly good and she is just plain cool. I remember the first time I encountered her work. I was attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta. I believe it was the year after my daughter was born, so that would be 1999. She was touring the artists room with some of her Dark Carnival pieces, and I was instantly enthralled.

Now, Dark Carnival was a mechanical/sculptural piece of a darkly fantastic carnival, a nightmare phantasmagoria populated by harlequins and angels and imps and ghostly figures, all cavorting about on these fantastic, fully-functional carnival ride models. A ferris wheel, a carousel, and most specatular of all, a fully functional mechanical roller coaster. The level of detail in these peices was simply astonishing, to say nothing of the singular vision and unique quality of the work.

One of the most frustratingly dull things about the "art" shows at a sci-fi/fantasy convention, beyond the enormous signal-to-noise/talent-to-dreck ratio, is the absurd level of derivative and uninspired work you see. Besides the tremendous load of crap being foisted on the buyers, who will often buy anything that is somehow associated with their fandom niche, nearly everything looks like something you've seen before: A novel cover, a Boris Vallejo or Frank Frazetta painting, a particularly striking scene from a film. Once you sift through the truly awful stuff, you're often left with nothing but technically proficient executions of familiar themes. Sort of the fandom equivalent of well-made hotel room art.

But sometimes, rarely, perhaps once in a lifetime, you stumble on someone like Lisa Snellings.

Her work is darkly enchanting. There's a dollop of whimsy, a hint of humor, a touch of eroticism, and this vague "hair-standing-on-the-back of-your-neck" whiff of dread all generously mixed into her work. Some of her pieces are very directly "spooky" (check out "Don't Ask Jack"), while others are more like fabulous, dark and delicious dream images. Her pieces make me think of Carnival, of Mardi Gras, of harlequins in dark firelit streets, of late-night subtly erotic visions hazed by alcohol or laudanum, of the shadow of a doll cast on the wall of a child's room late at night which seems to move ... just ... slightly ... when you close your eyes prentending to be asleep and vulnerable and then open them suddenly.

Her work is simply fantastic. Beautfiul, evocative, challenging and wonderful stuff. She's also recently started a journal that's definitely worth a look. Stop by her site and look around. Google her name and click around a bit. She's simply wonderful. And while you're at it, buy some of her work. Those ridiculously cool RatBag figures are a steal at a measley $25!

Mood: Kinda giddy.
Now Playing: Sinead O'Connor, "She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty"

1 comment: said...

Great reasoning mate!