When I was a kid, I was always mesmerized by those figurines of wizards and fairies and unicorns and mythical creatures. If I stared at them long enough, I could have sworn the unicorns might have tilted their heads just slightly or the wizards may have waved their wands to some incantation I couldn’t hear. The art of Alice Meichi Li is kind of like that.
Li grew up on on imaginary things much as I did, escaping the harsh streets of Detroit through art, comics, and the curiouser things that someone named Alice would be expected to envision. She eventually fled to New York City to earn her BFA at the prestigious School of Visual Arts and has made her dream visions come true in museums and galleries and on album covers, book covers, magazines, and comic anthologies that have won multiple awards. Talk about a fairy tale.
Swirling with luminous watercolors, Li’s work uses a unique watercolor splatter technique that seems like a shimmer veil dissolving to reveal scenes from Labyrinth, Game of Thrones, The Princess Bride, X-Men, Sailor Moon (this one glows in the dark), Alice in Wonderland, The Crow, and Neil Gaiman stories like Sandman and "Snow, Glass, Apples." You almost want to be kidnapped by the Goblin King in As the World Falls Down and swept away to a ballroom swarming with creepy creatures in even creepier masks. Look for overlays and hidden details that give a layered illusion like Sarah’s intricate headpiece done entirely in white and the grotesque goblin faces emerging from her hair.
Li has cast a spell far beyond the goblin city. Pawn to the Queen is her take on Wonderland, fluttering with transparent butterflies on one side and creeping with thorny red rose vines on the other. Daenerys Targaryen and John Snow are surrounded by a ghostly gold dragon and silver direwolf as their burning and frozen worlds blur in Ice & Fire. Her depiction of Storm as a “Nature-Goddess Weather-Witch person” wielding an animated burst of lightning (at least it’s animated onscreen) is especially badass.
Get your talons on some of her posters here, and you can dream without ever really having to wake up.