Graven Images Art - Strangers
|Date(s):||1981 (original), 2014 (modified)|
|First Published:||Graven Images|
|Fandom:||Starsky & Hutch|
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Reactions and Reviews: 1981
[Comments about the artwork in Graven Images]: Connie Faddis’ artwork deserves a review all its own. It may give you a clue about its excellence to know that when she showed me the first pictures at ZebraCon last year, I got down on my knees and salaamed. Faddis has drawn these pictures with her creative blood. They reveal and conceal, and their symbolism matches the language they enhance so gracefully. They are not so much illustrations as a tableaux vivants which make one feel like an uninvited and unwelcome watch, looking on some frighteningly intimate scenes. They are irresistible. Starsky’s hands with eyes in the palms. A telephone pole forming a Cross over Hutch’s shoulder. The two blazing stars which show up in S&H’s personal night sky. The Goddess Kali – who is also the Madonna. She has swords in her hands, has her palms pressed together in prayer, strokes the mane of a Zen lion (permitted to kill only in its master’s defense), and fingers a rosary. With the swords she is slicing Hutch, with her prayers she begs for his soul, with the rosary beads she transfuses blood into his veins. This Kali-Madonna wears a crown and necklace of skulls, and decorating her robes are Catherine wheels – symbols of martyrdom. Look at Hutch in this picture – at his hands at the wound in his side. And find the lotus, symbol of life, blossoming from Starsky’s forehead. Glorious. Be very careful, incidentally, when you touch these illustrations. They are print on photographic paper and took five weeks to produce at the printer. The reproduction is incredible; I've seen the originals and not only are the sold black areas and delicate pen-strokes beautifully done, but the fine details are all there. Remarkable job. 
Reactions and Reviews: 2014
On April 24, 2014, this art was the subject of a Fandom Secrets post on Dreamwidth, where it received commentary. Many of the posters were unfamiliar with the fandom and fanzines.
"Holy shitballs that's some amazing art there. I don't just mean the skill, I mean the imagination in the concept -- the silhouette and the noir-ish-ness and their poses and the light shining on them and the suggested symbolism of it all put together (which I might be totally misinterpreting because I have no idea who the characters are or what the fic is or the event in the fic that's illustrated here, but I can tell that whatever the symbolism is, it's there.) The strong concept aspect is especially rare in a lot of fanart now, although certain genres -- mostly kids' fantasy or superhero movies, seem to have quite a lot of good high-concept fanart."
"Goodness gracious, that looks good enough to be a professional interior illustration for a noir mystery novel or something. Who are the characters?
This picture makes me really, really curious to read the fic it's from and flip to the scene it's portraying, which is probably a sign that it's a really good illustration ;) (I wonder if the art is supposed to be slash or gen? With Starsky & Hutch, they're so intense it's hard to tell sometimes.)"
On the subject of whether fanart was better in the days of zines:
I really like the idea of illustrations, but even back then, a lot of illustration were crappy uncanny valley pencil drawings that detracted from the readers' mental image rather than enhanced their ability to see the scenes. Just like today. Trust me, I remember taping pieces of paper over some of the particularly off-putting art in some old Star Trek zines I used to read.
The only reason people ever think things were so much better back then is because over time they've let the memory of the crappy fandom things from back then fade and only recall the good things, while the crappy fandom things nowadays haven't had a chance to be forgotten yet.
On iconic characters viewed from an outside perspective:
It's not weird to immediately recognize a character just from a silhouette, is it? I'm not even a fan or anything, but Starsky has such a distinctive profile...
As for the silhouette -- c'mon, what other fictional character has such a luscious shock of curls? Answer: no one.