Saturday, April 12, 2008

Frazetta's 80th birthday

I meant to post this back in February (when it was still relevant...what's that about the "immediacy" of the net?), but Frank Frazetta celebrated his 80th birthday a few months back.
British arts magazine ImagineFX printed an entire issue as tribute to Frazetta (on stands now) complete with drawn tributes from 80-artists (some decidedly better than others); a short overview of Frazetta's career by Spectrum's Arnie Fenner who notes that a Frazetta original has sold for $250,000.

Growing up I remember Frazetta's art being ubiquitous on ominous Molly Hatchet album covers (Frazetta's reknown "Death Dealer" painting) that spawned a thousand lesser imitators (Vallejo anyone?). In high school I remember the handsomest guy in school, Robbie Owens, drawing a nude that made the girls swoon (even more) and passing it off as his own original. Only I recognized it as an exact ripoff of a Frazetta nude but lacked the nerve to say anything.

Frazetta is an equal opportunity sensualist as his male and female figures are potently sexual in equal measures; the artist genuinely relishes drawing the human body regardless of gender.

Frazetta can hardly be blamed for having inspired generations of lesser artists who have appropriated Frazetta's trademark obsessions while lacking his blend of unassailable skill with anatomy, composition, and lighting. Thus the ugly steroidal barbarians and buxom women in fur loincloths that adorn so many tacky fantasy novels at your local bookstore, may be the unintended progeny of Frazetta's style, but they are not his responsibility.

No comments: