FaerieCon Celebrating the art of Kinuko Y. Craft
When I was little and living in inner city Detroit, my world was made richer, brighter and more beautiful because my mother was a lover of fairytales and in turn introduced me to the whole magical world of fairytales from almost every country and culture. Together we explored the adventures of princesses, dragons, fairies, witches and heroes.
Many of the books she read to me, and those I later read to myself, had wonderful illustrations that enhanced each story allowing me in to that other world, away from the realities of living in an inner city. I spent hours studying each one - the more intricate the better, until I felt that I was there, in the tale, a part of the story, watching from behind a tree or just out of sight in the next room of the castle. Those stories and illustrations shaped my life.
I didn’t become familiar with Kinuko Craft’s work until I was much older, living in my own fairytale world in England, but I remember that the first time I saw one of her beautiful, jewel-like illustrations, it took me right back to my childhood -back to those magical hours I spent immersed in the fairytale world I so loved. The more I discovered her work, the more enchanted I became with her unique vision. She combines wonder with sophistication in equal parts and I find the mixture incredibly satisfying.
Kinuko’s paintings touch that need for fairytale, that yearning for magic that lives inside all of us. When we step into one of her paintings, for indeed that is what we do, we experience a world of dreams, visions and wonder. She is truly a fairy godmother who bestows riches upon us with a wave of her paintbrush. Kinuko is pure magic and our world is so much the better for her presence in it. – Wendy Froud
I remember first coming across Kinu.ko's work on book covers. They drew me in, inviting me to explore the rich worlds that must be contained within the pages of something that was so lavishly and enchantingly illustrated. The images felt like stories in and of themselves, weaving a spell made of lush details, jewel-like colors, and dream-like figures.
Her style has some of the grandeur and sensua] richness of Baroque art, while at the same time being entirely something of our modem era, with the colors that seem to vibrate off the page. I feel that I can get lost in any one of her paintings, letting my eyes wander across the textures and the botanical beauty of the magical realms. Like the stories of a traveler who has wandered inadvertently into the faerie realms, time stills while inhabiting the space that her mind and hand and. brush have created. – Stephanie Law
Kinuko Y. Craft is one of the most prestigious artists living today. Her timeless imagery has roots in history, mythology, and fantasy. With vibrant colors and incredible attention to detail, she create; an entire world in a single painting. While she has worked with a variety of clients for projects around the world, her i!Justrated children's books have always captu.red my imagination the most.
It's a rare thing to find such intricate and carefully crafted illustrations in publications for children. It was what initially drew me to Craft's work when I was young.
Lush environments and delicate feminine beauty are common themes, along with intricate borders reminiscent of the illuminated manuscripts of late antiquity. The more you look at one of her paintings, the more there is to discover. One can easily get lost in her creations uncovering the secrets in these fantastic worlds. The standard of excellence in Craft's work is one that should be both appreciated and celebrated. Work like hers will be enjoyed by both children and adults alike for years to come. – Annie Stegg
What a lovely place Kinuko Craft's must be, judging from the worlds she has created for us. To view them is to step for a moment into fairytale. There is the wondrous castle in the distance, on the hill rising above dark forests. Find your way into those trees, and there are the mysterious realms of faery, caught in a beam of lighl There is the sleeping princess, dreaming on a bed of flowers and fallen leaves. A brave and lonely traveler, the woman warrior, passes by you, intent on her quest. A witch makes and unmakes in her strange house. Above her, in the forest's night, a smiling woman rides across the stars on the smile of the crescent moon.
In Kinuko Craft's worlds, nature is a magical force, always blooming, recreating, one beauty appearing after another wherever you look. Winter is very far away, perhaps only a dream. The worlds of air and water flow into one another. Fish wander across your next breath; vines and sea snails inhabit the same starry dark. Women are more likely found than men; even within the castle on the hill an emporess rules. Like flowers on the vine, face after face blooms for us, revealing beauty, strength, dominance. The Sacred Feminine becomes, in her work, a force impossible to belittle or ignore.
As one of the most widely respected and celebrated fantasy artists in the world today, Kinuko Y. Craft considers herself first and foremost a storyteller. She brings a strong narrative sensibility to her illustrations, allowing the images to tell the intimate tale that lies behind the words. Known for her passionate love of fine art and a deep knowledge of art history, Kinuko's work has graced the covers of many well-known fantasy authors, opera posters, fairy tale books and national magazines. Her original works reside in both museum and private collections. – Patricia A. McKillip