A long time ago, in a banal suburb far, far away from the glamour and grime of Manhattan, there lived an adolescent bookworm with zero interest in pretty much anything other than drawing and reading. There were three things this sullen geek loved above all else: anything written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the idea of the unicorn, and a hardcover illustrated book about faeries first published in 1979. The Deluxe Collector’s Edition, from 2010, boasts 5 stars on Amazon, with the following description: “A quarter of a century after its initial publication, and with more than a million copies in print worldwide, Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s “Faeries” is a certified classic”.
Brian Froud is a fantasy illustrator par excellence. His and Lee’s book is the ultimate compendium of the fantastic denizens of the Faerie realm; every creature is represented from the troll to the sprite to the elf and the entire hierarchy of the faerie dimension. His renderings of these elusive members of that mythic world are, by turns, sweet, adorable, wizened, beautiful, ethereal, wicked and nightmarish. The list of Froud’s published works is beyond prolific, and, in addition to his books, two major fantasy films from the 1980s were inspired by and are filled with his creatures. Jim Hensen’s 1982 “The Dark Crystal”, which featured life-size puppets from Hensen’s Creature Shop, and 1986’s “Labyrinth”, which starred David Bowie as a seductive warlock, and was directed by Hensen and Kermit the Frog’s alter-ego, Frank Oz, have gone on to achieve cult status.
Right now, at this very moment in a SoHo space on the corner of Broome and Greene Streets, Froud’s and his wife Wendy’s most recent works are alight on the walls and shelves of the AFA Gallery. Wendy is a sculptor who gives three dimensional life to the beings sprung from her husband’s glorious imagination. An exhibition of 30 paintings by Froud and 10 sculptures by Wendy created for and published by Abrams in their newest book, “Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales”, is currently on view at AFA SoHo until October 12th, 2014. The Frouds will be appearing personally at the AFA Gallery on October 10th, to celebrate the exhibit’s closing and to sign copies of the book, right smack in the middle of what is now being called the largest cultural event on the East Coast, New York Comic Con, held from October 9th – 12th at the Javitz Center on the West Side.
The Froud exhibit and book signing are part of the first ever week-long celebration of NYCC, which will feature a slew of off-site events taking place all over the city in celebration on NYCC. For more information on NYCC, visit www.newyorkcomiccon.com. Until then, the creatures of the Frouds are hanging out and waiting for a visit at AFA SoHo at 54 Greene Street, New York, N.Y. And, just as I once imagined Froud’s faeries darting about under the starlight in my suburban hometown when I was a teenager, now I picture them stumbling, gamboling and frolicking about the streets of downtown Manhattan, coming to life as soon as the gallery is dark, stalking unsuspectingly behind late night revelers as they empty forth from the bars and clubs of Soho and Nolita.
54 Greene Street
New York, N.Y. 10013
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m – 6 p.m.
212 226 7374