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
"Journey to an Age when civilization clashes sword to sword with barbarism under the watchful eyes of gods, and lurking in the shadows, users -- masters of sorcery ever seeking power at any cost. Follow four adventures wherein: A barbarian learns there are times when it takes more than victory on the battlefield to usurp a throne. A barbarian escaping slavery learns there are more kinds of slavery than he ever imagined. A barbarian discovers there is much more to going home than just the mission assigned him. A barbarian awakens from a mysterious slumber to find he is not the man he thought he was. "
This was a fun project for me and I amlooking forwards to reading the thing. Just the brief bits I was given to do the illustration was enough to hook me and make me WANT to read the stories, and do the painting.
So congratulations to Tim, and may we see many, many more from him in the future, and a thank you to him as well for letting me do the painting for him.
And here is a picture of the completed painting as well.
Just letting the word out that we have a winner to the movie quote from the post "Life is a Taboret". The line was " without further elloquence", and the movie was THE QUIET MAN, and is one of my all time favourite films.
Our winner is a fellow artist, Carlos Pereira Da Silva, I will try to get a link to his site so that we can all share in his gift.
We will be doing more of these from time to time, so please stay tuned and as always please let us know what you think and are up to.
Over the past few days, maybe a week or so, my wife and I have begun to remodel, our studio/office space in the house. In doing such, I have had to do a bit of cleaning and cleaningout, and organizing.
The closet in the room was made into a storage cabinet for various things such as a few needed household tools, but also oganized to hold my art supplies, old paintings, boards for new paintings and paper and those sorts of various things.
In getting the closet organized, and cleaning things out, I was afforded the opportunity to do something I had been planning on and wanting to do for quite awhile. Build my "ultimate" taboret. Like many folks I am not quite an off the rack person, and have to customize things to suit my particular needs and wants. I built my own easel when I started painting again, of course there were numerous reasons for doing such, but one of the main ones was I want it to fit me and my needs. Now a few weeks back I purchased an easel I had been wanting for a long time, a simple H framed thing that I felt would do what I wanted and needed. Well once it was out of the box I had to customize it....................not much, but the bar in the back wouldn't hold the smaller size boards I use without them being all wobbly, so I took the backing off of my other easel, and added a paper towel holder to it.........pretty much it....suits my needs MY easel.
Doing this also allowed me some of my needed nostalgia of previous paintings and in a sense a sort of tradition...........silly I know but it works for me.
NOW............my "ultimate" taboret:
This Frankenstien of a thing is pieced together from all sorts of things I have collected and made use of over the past 10 to 15 years. So " without further elloquence" ( movie quote.........be the first to guess the movie win a free 9 X 12 pencil drawing) here is my ultimate taboret:
A) a cheap little table used as a taboret some 15 years or so ago. Mainly held brushes and watercolour stuff, the drawer keeps extra pencils and things.
B) an old surplus card file I got somewhere that I now hold new brushes in. C) an NYC Police Dept. coffee cup D) a vertebrae shaped coffee mug my mom gave me one year for my birthday...........looked like marrow in the bone when you had coffee in it. E) an old flower vase picked up somewhere. F) old glass plates used as palettes during the college portion of life. G) a strudy oak staple style table I got from a neice.......thanks so much, Mo. H) an old painting I never got around to completing......yes it was gonna be a big one. I) some 2 x4' s from an old video rack bought when Deb and Bob's went out of business. J) the youngster of the group, a cheapo file cabinet maybe 3 to 4 years old. K) the glass palette I use now, I got from OfficeKing while I worked there.