From Andrew Lang’s illustrated “Fairy Tale Books” to Disney’s cartoon fairy tale movies to even modern, “edgy” adaptations like the ABC drama “Once Upon a Time,” most fairy-tale depictions show stereotypical heterosexual, homogenous, white couples. Through these drawings, I reconstruct these relationships, depicting different races, body-types ranging from thin to muscular to curvy (and most importantly) ladies loving ladies.
Beauty and the Beast is re-imagined in a fantasy feudal Japan, where the beast is a horned, tattooed demonness seducing a beautiful princess. The Little Mermaid is set in Regency era Europe, and the mermaid* is rescuing a dark-skinned lady. Finally Cinderella, a 19th century girl dressed in a man’s suit, charms the princess, represented as a colored lady of the house, in a waltz on the dance floor.
Though all the drawings have “historical” basis (Heian Japan, European Regency, American Civil War), each drawing has a fantastical or historically inaccurate element to it — the demonness tattooed with modern Yakuza/gangster tats, the dark-skinned Regency girl, the Civil War era black high-society lady. These inaccuracies were included so that a variety of races could be inserted into historical images. Once I committed to wanting to depict various races in sometimes stereotypically Western settings, I decided that I would include something “inaccurate” in each drawing to unify them.
*My thoughts on mermaids: mermaids should have strong backs, big arms, and amazing six packs. If anyone used her upper body that much just to get around from place to place, I’d expect her to have huge, huge arms. So I made sure to give my blonde, generic mermaid nice buff arms.