Victorians were living in an unromantic, materialist and scientific age. Their reaction was to escape this reality by creating an heir to the romantic movement. Independent from literary allusion, the fairies were realistic and accurately painted. True to nature, they connected fantasy with reality so closely there lingered a credible impression of the fairies, boosting the magic. The age when much more was being explained by science, one may think that the fantasy would have diminished since there was less of the unexplained. Dickens said that underneath a deceptively utilitarian surface, people yearned for ‘great romance’.
In the 21st century, with information and connectivity at our fingertips, the idea of mysteries has taken a back seat. What are our modern day fairies? How do we escape from reality when it becomes intolerable? To me I see so many ways of finding yourself and subcultures which have their own quirks as methods of escape. Even professions have their own culture/ways of thinking and living. Trends directing our attitude and how we spend our time, maybe sometimes all we need is a little romance. A little fairy watching over you…
However our quality of life compared to Victorian times has vastly improved, therefore, what is the meaning behind the revival of fairies in art in contemporary culture? Jasmine Becket-Griffith, is a contemporary artist who specialises in fairy art and fantasy artwork. She puts her characters in various settings, costumes and stylings, linking each to a wider story or theme such as Alice in Wonderland or halloween. The merchandise which has been produced from her artwork seems to indicate that the pieces are decoration, but they are uplifting images which engage the imagination. I have been drawn to conclude the role of fantasy art is to exercise the imagination like the muscles we stretch, the scores we rehearse?
Artwork by Anna-Maria Amato: http://annamariaamato.weebly.com