Fantasy artist with "hidden" images within scenes?
January 31, 2010 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Who is the prolific fantasy artist, quite popular in the '80s/early '90s, who would include hidden faces & animals in each scene and every surface seemed to ripple with detailed objects?

The faces and figures tended to be rounded, but there was variety. The colour palette was fairy-tale Autumn with jewel tones (generally). There were puzzles, greeting cards, calendars, and, of course, posters. One of the few images I can recall more specifically is a castle-like cottage with faces hidden in the stones and so much detail it almost seems bustling.

I know that's not much info, but I'll appreciate any leads at all.
posted by batmonkey to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Bev Doolittle.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:59 PM on January 31, 2010

No. Not fantasy. I know the one you mean.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:59 PM on January 31, 2010

Leo and Diane Dillon? Their images are often dense and complex, although I can't remember much that counts as hidden faces.
posted by maudlin at 3:05 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: Not Ms. Dolittle, as you surmised, w-g p (though I did always love framing her work to best advantage).

Definitely not the Dillons, maudlin. More Christensen, (older) Bergsma, or even (early) Brad Foster.
posted by batmonkey at 3:14 PM on January 31, 2010

Is it Graham Base? A number of his books, such as The Eleventh Hour, have hidden messages.
posted by Kerasia at 3:23 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: definitely not Base. the hidden elements are other characters and aren't precisely's more that the closer you look, you can see that the artist has imbued personality into inanimate objects and tucked other characters in.
posted by batmonkey at 3:29 PM on January 31, 2010

Brian Froud? He of the collaboration with Jim Henson on Labyrinth, and of Faeries, Good Fairies, Bad Faeries, and Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book?
posted by athenasbanquet at 4:01 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: not Froud - our place is coated in Froud :)
posted by batmonkey at 4:02 PM on January 31, 2010

Did this person do any book illustrations/covers, or was it all the more independent stuff you listed above?
posted by athenasbanquet at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: i'm not sure about illustrations/covers, sadly. they may have at some point in their career. i generally encountered only the individual items above (mostly the puzzles and posters).

if it helps at all, this is as part of an "inspiration pack" requested by friends & family for an upcoming new family member's personal space, so it's all fairly gentle imagery. happy gnomes, fuzzy-faced wizards, friendly trees, and sympathetic animals.
posted by batmonkey at 4:12 PM on January 31, 2010

Can you hazard a guess as to what medium this person used? Pencils, oils, watercolors...? Were the colors generally very saturated or more faded? Was the style photorealistic or more stylized? Was there a lot of Celtic knotwork or scrollwork involved? Where were his or her works sold? Where did you see it displayed (libraries, stores, other)?

Can you give us some "look-alikes" from known artists? (Ie, images from other artists that remind you of this person's work)

(I don't have any particular other ideas for artists, but maybe if you answer some of these questions other people can help more. Just trying to not get your hopes up :) )

She is probably not who you are looking for, but you might like some of Trina Schart Hyman's work.
posted by athenasbanquet at 4:49 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: More saturated than not, but definitely within the Autumnal/jewel range. Kind of stylised, with organic, rounded shapes to nearly everything. No Celtic knotwork...not recalling scrollwork. Work was, wherever posters, puzzles, and greeting cards had fantasy elements, I suppose. Encountered it various places, saw a lot of it when doing framing in the early '90s, did a lot of shopping at paper goods shops & hippie decorative stores when young, anywhere I saw loads of fantasy puzzles. It's a possibility the work became popular in the '70s, initially, come to think of it.

Bergsma's faces & general style are similar to the faces and roundness I remember. Bill Bell's layered scenes have a touch to them, but they're far more cartoonish & bright than the artist I'm looking for. Christensen's colours may be a bit brighter but give good reference, and the wee details he puts in are similar. Brad W. Foster's details & organic shapes are reminiscent (although probably the most unrelated).

Trina Schart Hyman does have nifty stuff. A bit more realistic than where we're headed.
posted by batmonkey at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2010

If it was as popular as you say, then you mind have a chance of finding it at in the fantasy section.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:53 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: I'm not sure if it was as popular as I specifically perceived it, just that the individual sold a lot of puzzles, posters, and greetings cards :)

I've been digging through, all posters, and related sites for a few days now, but it may yet turn up!

Forgot to answer the medium question: it seemed most like oils, but that's an absolute guess.
posted by batmonkey at 7:33 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: This (very tiny) image is a lot like the types of scenes this artist looking for a bigger version w/ more detail to see if it might be by the same artist.
posted by batmonkey at 7:43 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: oh. no. dangit. another Christensen...should have known. I'm a goober. agh. I'm starting to doubt I'll ever find this.
posted by batmonkey at 7:45 PM on January 31, 2010

Don't know if this will help but maybe try looking at this "how many faces can you find" list.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:04 AM on February 1, 2010

Is it perhaps JacekYerka? You might like his stuff anyhow.
posted by Iteki at 1:06 AM on February 1, 2010

Response by poster: BoscosMom: I spent something like 2hrs on that search last night. No luck, but it was sure entertaining (very strange wit Safe Search Off, though - you wouldn't believe where they can hide faces these days). Thank you!

Iteki: It isn't, but what a great reminder of who that is so I never forget again. Great Monday morning art.

More recall:
There is a likelihood that one of the artist's pieces is a wooden boat out on the waves with a couple of his characters onboard. The waves have faces and critters tucked in.
posted by batmonkey at 8:32 AM on February 1, 2010

The Brothers Hildebrandt ?
posted by parabola01 at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2010

Response by poster: definitely not the Bros. Hildebrandt - more "cartoony"/stylised (think Bergsma's people), softer, rounder; more focus on the environment around the characters than the characters themselves.

But, man, you guys are coming up with a lot of great artists to look at. I wish that was the relief I'd like it to be!
posted by batmonkey at 2:28 PM on February 1, 2010

Adding to the collection of artists who did thiss--I recall Robin Wood used to hide a lot of small details in her paintings.

Good luck with the search!
posted by nalyd at 4:59 PM on February 1, 2010

Response by poster: Not Robin Wood. I feel bound to mention that I love using her Tarot deck.

Thank you - maybe a miracle will be wrought, somehow!
posted by batmonkey at 11:26 PM on February 1, 2010

« Older Is my frostbite/frostnip healing as expected, or...   |   Ain't no rest for the neurotic Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.