Robot 6

Remembering Frank Frazetta

A self-portrait by Frank Frazetta

A self-portrait by Frank Frazetta

A roundup of remembrances, tributes and obituaries for legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, who passed away Monday at age 82:

Timothy Bradstreet: “It’s very difficult to articulate how much Frazetta influenced me. That influence does not seem readily apparent in my work after all. Sure, I tried my hand at drawing just like Frazetta just like everyone else did. A lot of great artists have tried and have fallen short. Frazetta’s influence with me goes deeper — our hearts are connected, style and process are simply a means to an end. I read Frazetta’s own words speaking to what goes through his mind when he creates, and that confirms for me that we share a common connection. He may have painted with fire, but the coals are stoked somewhere much more deep down in the soul.”

Guillermo del Toro: “He gave the world a new pantheon of heroes. He took the mantle from J. Allen St. John and Joseph Clement Coll and added blood, sweat and sexual power to their legacy. … He somehow created a second narrative layer for every book he ever illustrated.”

Tom Richmond: “Frazetta’s fantasy illustrations were so charged with mood, savagery and movement they literally seethed and smoldered from the cover of these books. As beautifully rendered as the other cover illustrations of Boris Vallejo were, there was always something elemental and primal that put Frazetta’s work on a level all its own.”

Mark Evanier: “It would be difficult to overstate Frazetta’s impact and influence. Artists were inspired by his depictions of the human form. Writers were inspired by the evocative moods and imagery. Rarely has an illustrator so ‘connected’ with his audience. That astronomical prices paid for Frazetta originals — one painting recently going for a cool million dollars — testify to his enduring popularity.”

Heidi MacDonald: “Smashing with every brushstroke the stereotype of the wimpy artist (or Rockwell, pipe clenched firmly between teeth), Frazetta was the man of action in deed and thought. Accordingly his imagery was violent, shocking, brutal, even brutish. Men stabbing giant snakes; women with their gleaming, globular butts turned to the camera as they were kidnapped by bestial man-like figures; bodies piled up in battle being chopped to stew-sized chunks by bloody swords. This wasn’t subtle stuff. But Frazetta’s artistry was. In the hands of a lesser creator these scenes would merely have been vulgar (and often are.) But Frazetta applied the palette and brush control of a Renoir to his primitive vision.”

Richard Friend: “I would go to book stores as a kid, and I’d see these covers by Frank and you’d just be drawn to them. They could pull you from half way across a store over to see them. … They almost demanded to be seen. You would just see this abstract design that was so interesting and then as you’d get closer to it. The piece just got better, and better and better.”

Michael Cavna: “Amid all his artwork’s massive swords and towering cliffscapes and thundering skies of menace, Frazetta could flat-out make the viewers’ eye feel the ‘meat’ of the thing. Coiled pythons. Poised big cats. Rippling torsos posed just so. Frazetta’s artwork pulled you into worlds that put you at immediate peril — and it all started with the sinew. Glorious, striving, all-too-mortal muscle.”

Chris Ryall: “The guy leaves behind an unmatched legacy. I even have his 1982 calendar hanging on my wall right now (1982′s day/dates match up to 2010′s…). I’d say he’ll be missed but his work will always be here for all of us.”

Lars Walker: “He was an artist, not an author, but I suspect he was responsible for more fantasy book sales than any single person except J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Obituaries
The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
Pocono Record

Tributes and interviews
• Gary Groth’s 1994 interview with Frazetta [TCJ.com]
• Frazetta’s place in fantasy art history secure [Pocono Record]
• Comic book artists remember Frank Frazetta [Newsarama]
• Ten iconic Frank Frazetta works [Techland]
• Eight memorable album covers by Frank Frazetta [Houston Press]
• Frazetta’s Warren covers and a Shining Knight story [Comics Should Be Good]
• Frazetta’s movie posters [Some Came Running]
• Frazetta’s 10 most striking cover illustrations [Westword]

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