Frank Frazetta is one of the most successful and influential science fiction and fantasy artists of the 20th century. His works cover different themes, from classic horror monsters, to big fantasy battles up to the heroes; these works have inspired entire generations.Its success is certainly due in part to the variety of media in which his art appeared (comics, posters, album covers, books, etc.), but also to his unique style.
Frazetta was born in Brooklyn on February 9th, 1928. He was a very untimely artist. He said he started drawing at the age of three and had sold the first drawing at the age of eight. At the insistence of his teachers, he followed, for eight years, some courses at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts and entered the world of comics and illustration at the age of 16 years, with a work about Shining Knight. At its onset, he addressed, with his personal taste, different topics, from westerns to fantasy, from crime novels to historians. He refused a work offered by the Disney, and in the early fifties he realised some works for DC Comics ("The Shining Knight"), for Marvel, for the Avon Comics, and for the National Comics. His most famous work of this period was realised for the EC Comics. In 1952 he worked as an assistant for Al Capp (L'il Abner), but the partnership ended in 1960 due to a disagreement over wage cuts. He also worked on his own line of comic books, Johnny Comet and began to illustrate covers for paying bills (Buck Rogers for Famous Funnies). His fame almost relies on these works, in particular on his work for the books cover by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and others). In 1964 he started working at the realization of posters for The United Artists films ("Hello Pussycat" – 1965), while in 1966 he realized paintings for books cover belonging to the sword and sorcery genre, such as Conan and L. Sprague de Camp. Many heavy metal bands have used his works as album covers: Molly Hatchet in Flirtin 'With Disaster, the Nazareth in Expect No Mercy, the Dust for their second CD Hard Attack, and the Wolfmother used The Sea Witch as a cover for their debut album.
Surely his portrayal of Conan represented a model that, from then on, inspired dozens of designers. His paintings are immediately recognizable. Men are incredibly muscular, women are beautiful and supernatural, and his monsters indescribably horrible. Strong shadows and colours as well as the contrasts, the attention to detail and a predilection for chiaroscuro transform him, in a short time, in a point of reference, loved by a large number of fans. His tables also show a perfect touch, soft and strong, evocative. From his brushes and his colours magically emerged exotic characters in places otherworldly: warrior with rippling muscles and swords reddened by blood that did not know the fear. He is the painter of the man that dominates nature, that lives with it by following the rules, that is constantly fighting, armed with swords, spears and a lot of courage, with epic strength and powers, often naked. Conan and Tarzan are heroes who look at you straight in the eye.
In his works he mainly used oil colours, but also watercolours, ink or, sometimes, in pencil only. In 1973 it was the turn of Death Dealer, a menacing warrior in armour with a horned helmet, sitting on a horse, with dark facial features, armed with a mighty axe and a shield. The Image Comics published his comics with great success. In the 2000s, some health problems affected the use of his right hand to the point of being forced to use his left hand for drawing and painting. He died in Fort Myers May 10, 2010 due to complications following a stroke.
This is my first work based on Frazetta’s art, sculpting this project was one of the best moments in my career and one great challenge. This painting is an icon in the fantasy world and I think everybody recognize the silhouette of this barbarian.
The only things you can do in front of the master of fantasy illustration, Frank Frazetta, is bowing down and learn!
The work of Joaquin is extraordinary. It represents one of the best sculptures I've ever painted. I was almost afraid to play around with the brushes... Realising the iconic image of Conan is a unique feeling!
Since I have never seen the beautiful table in real, I chose to use printed tone colour of the famous book dedicated to the works of this master. With a panel behind the model, I remedied the lack of yellow tones that are dominant in the illustration, and that instead are not there in the sculpture. The base remains removable in order to see the whole model in its three-dimensionality. Thanks for this opportunity, a dream come true.