Saturday, May 15, 2010

A few final words on Frank

It has taken me a few days to get my thoughts together on this, the passing of Frank Frazetta, at this point I think I can maybe put together what I have been feeling and thinking for the past few days.

Like so many people in the field of fantasy art.............I took this path from seeing the works of Frazetta. I first saw one of his paintings in the 7th grade on the cover to Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, Tarzan swooping down out of the trees at a lion by fire light. The copy of the book was old and the dust jacket was gone, but it was a light blue book with spotty orange inking on it. I loved the motion the intensity of the image, but was unimpressed............next was Conan the Usurper. HOLY CRAP I was hooked.

From the moment I saw Usurper I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to do THAT! I wanted to paint those pictures. Then one day I found the Ballantine book, THE FANTASTIC ART OF FRANK FRAZETTA. If I wasn't hooked before, I was then. It wasn't until the third Ballantine book came out tha I saw Opar in full colour...........I was wrong..........that is the most amazing painting ever. I am always asked at somepoint or another what my favourite Frazetta image is.........that is tops on the list, but as I have said way to often, my favourite painting is whichever one I am looking at at the moment, which really does hold true.

You look at a Frazetta, and I have been doing this for about 35 years now ( I am a young buck in fandom ) and I STILL see something new everytime I look at one of the images. That says it all about his work. I will continue to look at and study the mans paintings for the next 35 years and still see something new. Newer generations of fans will look at his stuff and point out something new to me........let that soak in.... there is ALWAYS something new to see in a Frazetta.

Frank Frazetta was a mythical giant to me, a mentor, an inspiration, a guidance counsoler, and in many ways a friend. If I was stuck on an image .......... go see what Frank would do. That was something I constantly did growing up and trying to learn my craft. It was almost always  "look to Frank", pull out the books get a new grip on the problem and go solve it. Still to this day I will do this......I know I will do it in the future as well. You may say what you will about it.

I would look and see how he would solve a similar issue and then apply that to my image and do it my way. MY Way........a big key in life, follow the examples of those who went before you and learn from them and apply it to you and your situation, and resolve it your way.........through their guidance. Frazetta seemed to always say " why be a second rate Frazetta, be a first rate you" . Very inspiring words to me, and in my art I have always aspired to do that and in life in general.

I got to spend several hours with Frank in his studio in the mid '80's just prior to all the health problems, and I have to say meeting the giant was more than I ever expected. Warm, gracious, friendly and interested in me and my stuff. In that meeting it was for me, a dream come true. Sitting on the floor of his studio him flipping thru my portfolio ( all college stuff and a shambles and everything I had......EVERYTHING ) pausing here, and commenting, holding this up and that up, asking questions. It was honestly a better crit and review than I ever got in school, not because it was Frank Frazetta, but becuase of the interest and passion in the man.

During that visit, he would bring this painting out, and that  one .......Reign Of Wizardry, and if I remember, the nude from '64 because at the time it wasn't hanging in the first museum............and as he was doing so, he would ask what do you think of this area, should I do this or that or just leave it alone?? We talked of art, coffee, guns all sorts of things just had a grand time.

That night I had purchased a museum print. I didn't have all the money, but was allowed to make installments. I brought the last payment up to Pennsylania a year later, and got to visit the house again. Frank wasn't there, he was getting tested. Ellie brought out the print, and pointed out the drawing on the bottom, and said he did that the night after I left.

Twenty some odd years later, I got to go back and see the new museum, met up with some friends I had just met, but had known for a few years thru the internet. We wandered around the place, talking, discussing and discovering new things about the paintings. We got to meet Frank,  and after the twenty some years, the bad health and all..............the one thing I saw that never changed was the sparkle, the fire in his eyes. Intensity..........Frazetta.

We all knew that the Master would one day leave us, it was expected, as it is for all of us, but I just wasn't expecting it on Monday, May 10, 2010.

I have not had an artistic life without Frank Frazetta in it. Many of us haven't. His art will endure, and continue to astonish and amaze people for a long, long time. I guess I went through that brief lifestory for this........

Frank Frazetta was a mythical giant to me, a mentor, an inspiration, a guidance counsoler, and in many ways a friend.

The images he painted, drew or thought of were larger than life and left me with a desire to be better, to do the best I can and to be me, to do it my way......INSPIRITATION

He sat with me for a few hours talking art, discussing my images, suggesting things, taking the time to offer advice and crit the works of a young 22 year old wanna be, but on the level of an equal. ..............MENTOR

Looking at his works and seeing ways to resolve my own conceptual problems ......GUIDANCE


 A lot of us have read about him and heard things over the years, grew up with him and in a sense known him. Now I cannot claim that I was his friend, I only met him twice, but in those meetings, he made me feel as tho I was. I can say this, in my heart he was .............my FRIEND

Frazetta was so many things to so many people that it is a difficult task to put things into words that will encompass all. I can only relay what he was to me.

There is a passage from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, that I love and have hanging on my studio wall which reads:

"The friends that we have lost do not repose in the bosom of the eath, but are buried deep in our hearts; and it has thus been ordained, that we may always be accompanied by them."

Frank Frazetta will be carried in numerous hearts, and memories. His works will continue to warm and inspire the hearts and works of generations to come.

I know personally that I will carry him and all I have garnered from him with me, and will pass on what I know and have learned so that the chain will remain unbroken and more links can be added.

I got to say this to him in person on my last visit and I wish to say it again now


Thank you.




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