Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Artist Spotlight

Artist Showcase: Blaithiel

Blaithiel, also known by her real name Anna Bastrzyk, was born in Poland. Blaithiel is a self-taught digital artist who creates art for book covers, CD covers, and t-shirt designs. Her website is blaithiel.com.

Your artwork has a very consistent mix of elements: ghostly female figures, often in a state of anguish, birds or other flying creatures, fluttering cloth or hair, a very stark and muted color palette, and a mournful, Gothic atmosphere. Did you set out to create a cohesive body of work or is this simply a reflection of your own tastes and viewpoint?

To me, each work is very different from the other works. Each one tells its own story. When I start creating a new work, I don’t explore only in one genre. I don’t steer the work in a direction to achieve only one specific effect. I just go with the flow. I just follow the images rising in my head. When I start creating a new artwork, I never know how it will end or what the final result will be and this is really cool. Like many other artists, I’m looking for beauty in all that meaning.

Joseph Campbell once described Carl Jung’s writings about dreams as examining “x-rays of the soul.” Do you ever get inspiration for your images from your own dreams or nightmares? If so, which images are taken directly from your dreams/nightmares?

To be honest, I never remember what I dream. I think everyone has their own “dark side of the moon.” I’m quite a cheerful person. Nonetheless, in many of my works, you can discern loneliness, alienation. That’s a bit of myself as well.

For the images that are not taken from your own dream life, do you ever end up dreaming about being in those spaces or seeing those figures after you first created them as art work?

Very interesting question. A couple times, I created particular works and I wanted to belong in the worlds depicted in them. However, I’ve never encountered any characters from my works in my dreams and I am not sure I want to. They are pretty scary.

How much of your work is taken from photographic sources and how much of it is originally created digitally? It looks like there are elements of both but they are seamlessly integrated into each other.

My technique is mixed media, combining photomontage and digital painting. The amount of each element depends on the particular work. Some of my works are just simple photo manipulations without any actual digital painting in them. I always start from a photo. I then try to create a whole story for it, painting digitally or using other mediums.

What are some of your artistic inspirations, from fine artists to illustrators to films, etc.?

Many things inspire me: other artists’ artworks, music, books, movies sometimes, my own feelings. I have always been drawn to dark fantasy concepts. I think everything relating to darkness, fantasy, warriors, and strong characters all give me inspiration.

What project would you most like to work on, in the future?

I will not be original and humble. Like most artists, I would love to work on some big film industry project.

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Henry Lien

Henry Lien

Henry Lien is an art dealer and proprietor of The Glass Garage Gallery in Los Angeles. He represents artists from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. His artists have appeared in ARTnews, Art in America, Juxtapoz, The Huffington Post, and Time Magazine, and been collected by and exhibited in institutions and museums around the world. Henry has also served as the President of the West Hollywood Fine Art Dealers’ Association and a Board Member of the West Hollywood Avenues of Art and Design. Henry also has extensive experience as an attorney and teaches at UCLA Extension. In addition, Henry is a speculative fiction writer. He is a Clarion West 2012 graduate, has sold his work to Asimov’s, Analog, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Interfictions, and has been nominated for a Nebula. He is originally from Taiwan. Visit his author website at henrylien.com.