Noted fantasy artist Frank Frazetta passed away today in Florida. He was 82 and still painting.
Frazetta will probably be best remembered for his artwork for the Conan the Barbarian novels, although he also created iconic covers for both Tarzan and the John Carter of Mars series. He never read any of Rice Burroughs novels, saying instead:
“I didn’t read any of it… I drew him my way. It was really rugged. And it caught on. I didn’t care about what people thought. People who bought the books never complained about it. They probably didn’t read them.”
Frazetta worked in multiple fields, creating art for comic books (Shining Knight), daily comic strips (Lil’ Abner, Flash Gordon), movie posters (What’s New Pussycat, The Gauntlet), album covers and even an animated movie, Fire and Ice, released in 1983.
Working commercially mainly in oils, Frazetta also painted in watercolour, pen and ink or simply sketched with pencils. His cover art for Edgar Rice Burrough’s “Escape on Venus” sold at auction for $251,000 in 2008. His work reached the $1 million mark in 2009 when his painting “Conan the Conqueror” sold to a private collector in 2009.
In later life, Frazetta was plagued by health challenges, a thyroid problem and a series of strokes diminished his manual dexterity, making it difficult to paint. Undaunted, Frazetta switched to his left hand, and continued painting until his death.
I’ve never read any of the Conan books, or Tarzan for that matter, but when I think of those characters, the image in my mind’s eye is invariably one painted by Frank Frazetta. You couldn’t spend the amount of time that I did in the Fantasy section of the local book store and not be influenced by his work. I was always fascinated by his use of light and shadow. It lent a heaviness to his work that suited what I knew of those characters, they were dangerous, unpredictable and raw and his images captured that perfectly.
I also have to admit to wondering how the heck those little metal bikini’s stayed on those busty women.
Frank Frazetta influenced so many modern day fantasy artists including Boris Vallejo and Yusuke Nakano, the lead artist for Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda video game series . The field may not be as thriving as it is today if it weren’t for him.
He will be missed.
Via: Associated Press