The Southland Times
February 5, 2000

Art Aided by Computer
Morag Forrester

ARTISTS are popularly portrayed as angst-ridden misfits whose means of expression is oil daubed on canvas in a dusty, ramshackle studio.

Fantasy Art of the New Millennium abolishes that impression. Author Dick Jude has compiled examples of some of the best artists of the genre. Inspired by life and imagination, these visionaries use not just oil paint and brush but, in keeping with our time, they also use today's tool -- the computer.

The style of fantasy art is a mix of myth and legend, science fiction and photographic realism. Using straightforward and interesting text and illustrations of the artists' works, Jude offers a compendium of colour and inspiration.

The 10 artists included in the book have all worked in commercial art, book illustration and film. Two of them, Alan Lee and John Howe, were commissioned by New Zealand film director Peter Jackson to craft backdrops for the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J R R Tolkein. Certainly in John Howe's 1998 Mythago Wood there appear to be the dark influences of New Zealand's natural world.

From these Gothic mist-laden illustrations, Jude takes readers to the very different flame and ice-coloured works of Jim Burns.

Then it is on to Rick Berry's photographed life models which are transformed into God-like creations. Steve Stone, whose work Gold graces the book' s cover, is a firm exponent of using the computer in art. Although formally trained at art school, he now runs his own computer graphics company.

His comment that his art "exists somewhere between painting, cinema and computer artwork" encapsulates this book. It is an inspirational work that serves to ignite the imagination and vision of its readers.