Brian Froud was supposed to be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the society of illustrators but somehow this rumour never actually materialised and everyone seems at a loss as to why it was floated and then didn’t happen. It is hard to believe that anyone could conceive of the possibility that Brian Froud is not worthy of such an award. If anything, it is long overdue since he had already produced a lifetime’s brilliant work years ago! Brian Froud must now be well into a third or fourth lifetime of work in comparison to many newcomers. Perhaps a triple lifetime achievement award would be more appropriate. After all, Brian Froud is not an artist who climbed on the bandwagon of faery art, he was one of the very few pushing it uphill at the beginning! Brian Froud’s work dates way back into the early days of fantasy art – far further back than Brian Froud himself probably wishes to remember! Along with his colleague Alan Lee, Brian Froud set the standard for technical excellence as well as realism, imagination and vision in bringing fantasy ideas to life.
Whether Brian Froud actually IS an illustrator is of course another issue and maybe that was the problem. Perhaps they recognised that Brian Froud is more a painter than an illustrator. For the most part Brian Froud has not illustrated books other than his own and certainly in recent years the number of Brian Froud books has grown considerably. But if film design work is illustrative then Brian Froud’s work on ‘The Dark Crystal’ alone is worth a lifetime achievement award.
Brian Froud has always trod his own path and openly acknowledges his admiration of Arthur Rackham whose work inspired his early efforts. The world of faerie is probably more due a lifetime achievement award in his opinion since Brian Froud’s work has always been by the inspiration of the faerie folk, however you conceive that to be. Brian Froud himself doesn’t actually profess to know faerie because he is happy enough to bathe in its mystery … or at least that is how it always seemed to me.
For someone so influenced by faerie that they sometimes pop up even when he is signing his name Brian Froud actually isn’t away with the faeries. If you read a Brian Froud book you’ll find it refreshingly down-to-earth in many ways. Although the Pagans, New Age people and others love Brian Froud’s work he is somehow somewhere else and does not seem really close to any of these groups or genres. There is certainly magic in Brian Froud’s artwork though and maybe it is that kind of magic that the world is lacking right now. Let’s hope he continues to bring the realm of faerie out into his paintings for many years to come as he starts on producing the work of a fifth lifetime!
If you are not that familiar with Brian Froud and want to see more, just click on Brian Froud’s Tapestry or here and away you’ll be whisked away … as if by magic!