I decided to keep with a theme and talk about another artist who had a big impact on cult classic movies of the 80’s. Brian Froud is one of the most worshipped concept artists of our generation. His work and vision is largely responsible for the look and feel of the films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Think of it this way, he was good enough to inspire Jim Henson. That’s like being the being the guy who made Jimi Hendrix want to pick up a guitar. It means something. These are two films that were created almost thirty years ago and have built armies of fans based on their visual appeal. Even with all of the advances in technology since then, few movies can even be considered to leave as powerful of a visual benchmark.
Froud’s attention to detail and ability to create a mystical realm have earned him the praise of being perhaps the most talented fantasy artist on the planet. His ability to put so much personality into his images easily comes from his passion for the subject matter. Froud considers himself one of the world’s experts on both faerie and goblin lore, not only knowing how they should look, but how they should live. He is said to draw much of his inspiration from Dartmoor, an area of preserved national park in south Devon, England. Dartmoor is home to a mix of lush greens, mysterious rock formations, and strange forests that are often mirrored in Froud’s work. The characters in Froud’s work manage to have a flood of weirdness with a touch of vulnerability. For example, the goblins he has become so well known for drawing are often disgusting, disproportionate, dirty creatures, but they manage to hold a level of sincere sensitivity. I think if Froud has a flaw, I feel he might be unable to create a character you don’t like on some level. This is something that I think comes from the love of what he does. Passion and appreciation goes in, passion and appreciation comes out.
Since his work as a concept artist, Froud has stayed busy. He has illustrated a pile of books and graphic novels and even a deck of cards for Oracle. He has apparently done concept art for a sequel to The Dark Crystal, though a future for these ideas is very unclear. He maintains a home in study just outside of the area that inspires him so much in Devon, England.