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My Favorite Artists and Their Art: Frank Frazetta

  • Sep 24, 2010
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This list is dedicated to legendary fantasy artist and comic book illustrator Frank Frazetta, who passed away May 10, 2010. May his afterlife be filled with all of the adventure and passion of his paintings...
Frank Frazetta
As a genre that spans multiple mediums, fantasy has been able to introduce people to new worlds, new concepts, and encounters that only the imagination could provide. Within the art world, very few fantasy artists have ever been given the credit that they deserve for their artistic work. Aesthetically, fantasy in art is usually comprised of scenes of scantily clad barbarian men and women battling with supernatural forces, though there are other kinds of fantasy art. However, when it comes to "pulp fantasy", as I often refer to it, no artist has ever had the kind of cultural impact and influence that Frank Frazetta has. His works have pushed the envelope in ways that are almost indescribable. The men he draws are muscle-bound and rippling with testosterone; the women are voluptuous sensual creatures who can barely stand due to their endowments; the monsters are as grotesque and as savage could be.
Conan the Adventurer
Of all of Frazetta's works, this one is for me the ultimate. It combines all of his themes (scantily clad muscular men and women, sex, violence, fantasy, and adventure). The composition itself is unique and I love the way Conan remains in focus, yet the surrounding figures and images are all slightly blurred.
I can't help but think of Terry Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil when I see this. Clearly, the painting was inspired by the Icarus myth, but still Brazil comes to mind.
Cat Girl
I think that this is probably Frazetta's sexiest painting, being both erotic, exotic, and slightly unnerving in some way.
Conan the Barbarian
This classic painting displays Conan at his most savage and barbaric, which is how we like him. The contrast in colors here is rather striking and certainly makes the painting one of the most memorable of Frazetta's Conan images.
Vampirella (image taken and cropped from issue 1)
Taken from issue #1 of the Vampirella magazine, this classic "vamp" image remains one of the greatest examples of comic book pin-up art. While I'm not normally fond of this style of art because of its sexist implications, I do love this painting!
Egyptian Queen
I really like this one. The colors are quite entrancing.
The Death Dealer (version I)
Pure icon! What a terrific image. Does it remind you of any famous album covers? It should, it was used on Molly Hatchett's debut album in 1978.
Conan the Usurper
This image is quite popular it seems. There have been a number of variations of it appearing on the covers of Star Wars comics and other comic books.
The Tempest Witch (The Sea Witch)
This particular piece is quite haunting and I think in part it's because of the cold colors Frazetta used, but it's also in part due to the composition, which I rather like.
Vampirella (1998 version)
A slightly more feminine and approachable Vampirella. This painting, done almost three decades after the original, presents Vampirella more as a flirty vampire vixen rather than as a lethal femme fatale. Note the use of softer colors and more voluptuous lines.
Conan the Destroyer
This action-packed painting was recently up for auction shortly after Frazetta's death... and it sold for $1.5 million!
The Silver Warrior
'Ice! This cool (bad puns, I know) painting was used as the cover for Michael Moorcock's novel The Silver Warriors.
This is a fairly good example of Frazetta's mastery of painting fantasy environments, often which display the violent side of nature. Sadly, Frazetta never created many landscapes, though I think he would have excelled at them.
Conan the Conqueror
Another classic Conan image. That's one mighty barbarian!

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September 26, 2010
Frazetta does rule. You should see the SSOC classic covers he did occasionally.
September 26, 2010
I think I have. So, can we expect an art list from you sometime in the future?
September 26, 2010
maybe...remember, artists do whatever and whenever the mood strikes them. :)
September 26, 2010
Is there supposed to be a point there?
September 26, 2010
I have no idea...
September 26, 2010
Nor do I.
September 24, 2010
Is there going to be a sequel? This is a very nice list. It does the master proud.
September 24, 2010
Probably not. Though I do have a list of fantasy art planned and naturally Frazetta will be featured prominently.
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