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Peter Andrew Jones Simulacra
Peter Andrew Jones Simulacra

Simulacrum (ˌsɪmjʊˈleɪkrəm)
(Plural = Simulacra)
(Singular = Simulacrum)

Realer than real.

    "The simulacrum
is never what hides the truth --
it is truth that hides the fact that
there is none.

    The simulacrum is true,"

original paintings
and drawing catalogue

Peter Andrew Jones Simulacra Peter Andrew Jones Simulacra
Peter Andrew Jones Fantasy art
In 1999, while enjoying a successful career since the mid-70s creating Science Fiction & Fantasy images for a global list of clients, the artist was out on a Sunday walk in London where he lived and happened upon Watling Street, which runs alongside St. Pauls Cathedral and which the artist had known intimately since childhood.

He pondered what "Watling" meant, especially as a pub he frequented as an art student ,"The Old Watling" at the bottom of Mayfair, was positioned close to art galleries he frequented. This seemed significant.

Research uncovered Watling Street as the root of a famous Roman road. The remnants of the road, still, run up to Church Stretton in Shropshire, in "The Marches", a place steeped in myth & legend including Arthurian.

So, he moved his studio from one end of Watling Street to the other, to paint the myths and legends of The Old Kingdom of Mercia and especially The Marches area whose legends are, unquestionably, the very root of modern fantasy art.

Indeed, a very short walk from the artist's studio will take you to "Merlin's Cave" said by the locals to still house Merlin himself, immortal, walled up inside and wailing that he has been imprisoned there by Morgan Le Fay, Arthur's half sister, as retaliation for his part in robbing her of her rightful throne.

And, an even shorter walk in the opposite direction will bring one to the Ludlow Road, at the other end of which you will find Ludlow Castle where local legend also says that
Merlin and Uther Pendragon made their fateful agreement concerning the yet to be young Arthur.

Further north? The battlefield of the fall of Arthur on the Field of Camlan: mortally wounded in error by his nephew Mordred.

And a little further still, Avalon, the Isle of Apples, where the Romans sent two Legions to Battle what is now referred to as The Welsh only to find they never returned; no wonder then they called it "The isle of the Dead".

All this, and more - he had to paint it!

Before he left London a friend quipped about the artist's career  to date - "where do you go from up, Peter?"

The response?

That the artist, once described by Octopus Books as "The most successful Science Fiction artist in Britain" should eventually gravitate to the very geographical centre of where the raw ingredients of so very many fantasy art works have their roots.

And paint simulacra.

Rooted in Middle English and from the Latin "simulare" the word is disputed to have either first been used in the 15th century or other sources suggest the 16th century.

In any event, the original meaning of the word appears to have been a representation of something, such as in a painting, a visual rendering, of something or somebody tangible
and later, something or somebody from history, and eventually, as became the "job" of the artist, myth and legend or imagined scenarios.

Dictionary definitions do vary greatly (as though in keeping with a simulacrum itself) including the idea that it was simply a representation of a person (as in the form of a painting) yet fantasy art, particularly as practiced by fantasy artists since the 1970s, relies so much on the idea of creating visuals of things that no longer exist or may never have or, in the case of myth and legend MAY have existed but, due to non-existent or extremely unreliable historical records and with the added issue of the sheer passage of time eroding race memories, evolved into generally accepted representations of how, for example, "Merlin the Magician" would have appeared quite regardless of how he actually did appear.

We could then say that in at least some circumstances a simulacrum is an image that replaces an unclear, variable or long forgotten reality with its own unique existence, the simulacrum becoming a truth in its own right with its own reality and no longer being an imitation, duplication, parody or some such but instead  becoming a concretisation of a fantasy that, by virtue of its own existence and acceptance by the viewer of that existence, becomes an accepted representation of something or somebody that can have no truly reliable external source of authentication.

In essence, as an entirely self-contained culture, the simulacrum is accepted and unquestioned as a truth in itself.

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