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Fairy Song Volume One Paperback – January 30, 2006
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Since 1995, New Jersey's Sal Quartuccio and Bob Keenan have managed to publish a unique and alluring line of softcover books for a reasonable price, each spotlighting a narrow fantasy theme as interpreted by multiple artists in black and white, and revolving around unabashed renditions of the undraped female form. Enlarging their size and including color don't constitute changes that tempt me to feel happy about the prospect of paying twice as much, if that's the intent. It's true that amazon's price is lower than list, but the point holds.
"Fairy Song" consists of sixty-four interior full-page illustrations, with thirty-two in full color, seventeen in black and white, and fifteen scanned in duotone (as sepia/black). The big news is that this features some of Arantza's most exciting art in a while. Over time, her work's gotten looser and sketchier, but this theme and one last year of mermaids seem to have galvanized her. I was particularly struck with the force of a thunderbolt by a lovely, intricate image that appears near the back, a depiction of a nude fairy reclining on her side on some boulders. This stunning piece, "To Serve The Fairy Queen," has been mechanically duotoned here by editorial decree, but one longs to see it in its original black and white. In contrast with those of Arantza, the contributions of Pelaez seem stiff and a bit contrived, as though lacking empathy for the subject matter. A composition by Pelaez, however, "The True Secret Of The Grape," is among the finest and most sensual in the book. Eighteen other creators are represented by drawings or paintings in "Fairy Song," with examples ranging in quality from excellent to vaguely amateurish.
A minor gripe is that somebody - and apparently not the talent on display - has gratuitously added descriptive titles beneath every illustration. While this makes individual pieces easier to single out and identify, presumably when one's inquiring about buying originals, it makes me uncomfortable to think these may be impositions of the publisher, and not something that the illustrators had a say in.
It needs to be clarified that this isn't for children, like other Gallery Girls publications, despite the lack of copy to that effect on the cover and the theme. I'd recommend this to anybody who enjoys erotic fantasy art.
One of my favorites, Pelaez has several pieces in the book. The first one of note is a b&w illustration of a topless, cloaked nymph, standing amidst an enchanted forest. Another one of my favorite SQP artists, Arantza also has several pieces in this collection including a beautiful, nude, butterfly-winged sprite wearing an elegant beaded headdress and standing upon a flower. It's a lovely and somewhat haunting piece. Enrique Villagran gives us two nude sprites, sitting on flowers and quizzically looking up something in a book.
Danilo Guida provides a full color piece called "Fly the Sky and Dream the Stars" in which a gorgeous blonde nymph with glistening wings stands daydreaming looking at the Heavens. The humorous side comes out in Diego Florio's "Forest Side Assistance" featuring a buxom blonde fairy riding on the back of a bumble bee that has the word Rescue on its side. Arantza checks back with one of the collections finest pieces, an unbelievably detailed b&w illustration of a dark haired sprite, nude and lying demurely on a flower. Note the detail of the flower petals, it is simply mesmerizing. Cesar Britez captures the innocence of these creatures depicting a nude fairy bathing in a pond and getting a kiss from a tiny doe.
Fairy Song is one of the best fantasy art collections to come out in a long time. The artists truly capture the essence of these beautiful creatures and their many moods. Bravo!
Reviewed by Tim Janson
arantza and pelaez, and to some extent the other illustrators i mentioned, can produce erotic art that is beautiful without being raunchy - however the rest of the art in this book is erotic art at its worst, poorly drawn and composed, raunchy instead of beautiful, overused cliched poses, models that look like hookers, and worst of all skin textures and outlines that make the figures look hard and rough
if you like that sort of rough junky porn looking art then you will like this book - otherwise i would suggest just buying art books by arantza and pelaez - but this book is so cheap it really is worth buying for the dozen pics that are superb