Original Website Design of AFAE When First Launched
The Australian Fantasy Art Enclaves or AFAE* was formed by Selina Fenech with guidance from Michele-Lee Phelan and first went online on the 21st July 2003. Both being Australian based fantasy artists, they felt the need to have contact with fellow artists, and share our knowledge and stories of being fantasy artists. Also, they wanted a place to show off the talents our red land has to offer to the rest of the world!
And so, with Selina's meager HTML and web design knowledge and a little touch of magic, AFAE was born! Also many thanks to Serge (RIP) from Esoteric Art for setting up our forums, which are a wonderful friendly and helpful place full of artistic chatter.
From simple beginnings, AFAE has grown to hold over 70 members with a wide range of themes and styles, and helped promote these artists. We hope that this site will grow even more over time and inspire more young Australians with a little bit of magic.
Copyright Information The pictures found at this site have been provided by the contributing artists who kindly gave permission to show them. Copyright and all rights therein are maintained by the artists, notwithstanding that they have offered their works here electronically. It is understood that persons copying this information will adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction, distribution or manipulation of any of these works is strictly prohibited.
* AFAE is a play on "A Fae", Fae being a term for magical creatures such as fairies, goblins, sidhe, and so on.
The Australian Fantasy Art Enclave First Anniversary The Australian Fantasy Art Enclave (fondly referred to as AFAE by its members) is celebrating its first birthday on the 21st of July 2004. A special haven for “that rare and wonderful creature – the Australian Fantasy Artist”, the enclave displays showcase galleries of both professional and amateur Australian fantasy artists. It also boasts a forum where members and visitors can chat, exchange ideas, show off their latest work and give and receive advice. AFAE was created by Selina Fenech, with the guidance of artist Michele-Lee Phelan. It first went online on the 21st July 2003. As Australian fantasy artists, Fenech and Phelan felt the need for a place where they could have contact with others who shared their interests. They wanted a place to show off the talent that Australia has to offer to the rest of the world and a place where Australian artists could gather to share stories and knowledge. And so, with some simple web design and a special touch of magic, AFAE was born! Fenech and Phelan soon realized they weren't as alone in their chosen careers as they had originally thought; membership applications started to flood in and AFAE grew rapidly. The previously invisible community of fantasy artists in Australia finally had a home and a way to overcome the isolation imposed by the physical distances between them. And there is magic there. Within a small hub made of html code in the vast web of the Internet, a family has formed. After only a year AFAE now has over 60 members, with 30 professional artists (some of international renown), 38 budding amateurs (whose vision and quality of work is very impressive) and even 2 adopted New Zealanders. Ages range from 14 to over 50, with people from Sydney to Perth and many stops in between. But what is fantasy art and why did the people who create it need a special place of their own? Fantasy artists work in the themes of imagination; they create diverse worlds, other times and lands with strange beings and characters within their artwork. Fantasy art covers everything from whimsical fairies to bulging barbarians to surreal, other-worldly landscapes. Fantasy art is closely tied in with myths, legends and fairy tales and is often influenced by well known "other worlds" such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth and those from role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Fairies, angels, dragons, mermaids, wizards, goddesses, warriors, unicorns and monsters often feature in fantasy art. Fantasy art is often portrayed with a substantial dose of realism rather than being highly stylized or abstract. Frequently dismissed as "Illustration" rather than fine art, fantasy art is sometimes not accepted in traditional art galleries. It is largely under represented in the Australian art world, especially considering the great talent Australia has in the area, both from now and in the past. Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960) was one such acclaimed artist from the past, as was Peg Maltby (1899-1984). Many Australian fantasy artists move to larger markets overseas while those who stay here usually find the best avenue for their art is selling on the Internet to overseas customers, even when they would prefer to be spreading the magic among their fellow Australians. Despite its niche genre, many fantasy artists, including some of our members, find themselves in demand for illustrating magazines, picture books, computer games, role playing games, and portraits for the characters of these games. The recent popularity of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter has reawakened the fantasy themes in our culture and fantasy art is also popular among those in the “New Age” community. Among our members are artists as influential today as Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Peg Maltby were in the past. Shirley Barber has become a household name with her fairytale stories and illustrations being found in every store, from books to sticker sets, jigsaws to backpacks. When the incredibly popular art book “The Art of Faery” was published in 2003, two of the twenty two artists featured (Maxine Gadd and Kim Turner) were Australian. Selina Fenech has seen her work published in Australian and United Kingdom Pagan magazines, and is soon to be published throughout Australia as a line of greeting cards. Multi award winning Nick Stathopoulos has created artwork for dozens of book, game and album covers, illustrating for authors such as Terry Dowling and James Marsden, the game artwork for “Warlords” and background artwork for Disney Corporation. And, proving his incredible range, in 2003 he was one of the finalists for the Archibald Art Prize. Jordana Archer-May's ethereal fairy artwork appeared on the Britney Spears CD “Britney” in 2001 and in 2003 collaborated with Mark May to publish the book “Ethereality”. This is but the tip of the iceberg of talent accumulated at AFAE, with many unpublished artists whose work is simply astounding! The website is partitioned into a gallery for Fantasy Artists, being those working professionally in the field, and a gallery for Amateur Artists. These artists are only amateur in that they pursue art as their hobby rather than career, not in terms of the quality of their work. A common note from visitors is “Why are they called Amateur artists? Their art is just amazing!”. The AFAE website contains a showcase gallery of each artist’s work and a short biography, with links to more art and information. An online store for purchasing art prints and other items, information on commissioning the artists, resources and information for members and visitors is available. The heart of the AFAE community is the forum, where artists gather and can leave messages or chat to each other in real time. This is where the strong bonds of friendship have been forged, knowledge shared and support given freely. Inspiration is abundant and it is a wonderfully friendly and helpful place full of artistic chatter with a distinct Australian accent. The support and inspiration that this forum gives it's members is vividly clear in the work they create. Over the last year we have watched as our members skills and talent have improved exponentially, nurtured on by the constructive criticism and encouragement of their peers. It is with great excitement that the members visit the forums to see the newest artwork a member has posted proudly, and each new work amazes! The forum and website have become so popular even international artists are asking to join and a “Friends of AFAE” page has been set up with links to the websites of our overseas members. The aim of AFAE is to spread the magic that its artists create with the broader public, because that is why we create - we believe that everyone deserves a little magic in their lives! The ancient themes found in the art have a warm place in the hearts of the general public. AFAE is growing steadily with time, as each day more and more artists – Australian or otherwise – discover the friendliness and inspiration that its members treasure. Selina Fenech, AFAE Editor