I needed a few days to process what I would say about Frank Frazetta who passed away on May 10th. I never knew the man. His biography is well documented but I thought I would say something about him anyway. The impact his art had on me as a child was huge and helped me to become an artist.
Frank Frazetta got me to read when I was 11. While I had read Jack London’s Call of the Wild and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; I spent most of my days reading comics and playing with my friends. Like many people I bought Conan the Adventurer based on the stunning artwork for the cover.
His paintings have a facile economy to them, Fred Astaire with a paint brush. Part of his magic lay in his ability to give you just enough information to be real without painting everything in a finished way to the edges of the canvas. The viewer is allowed to participate in the creation of the world in the painting. It was a lot harder to do than it looks.
He had his influences from artist friends like Roy Krenkel and illustrators of the past like J. Allen St. John. He absorbed all of them and made them better and made them Frank Frazetta. Most of the illustrators I know got into the field because of Frazetta; he was the artist’s artist. Drawing ability, color, design; he had it all.