Artist Spotlight on Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta is one of the most influential and emulated fantasy artists ever. Born 1928 in Brooklyn, NY, he showed remarkable drawing talent early and was enrolled into the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts at eight years old. At sixteen, he began working for comic artist John Giunta and soon published his own comic, Snowman. Throughout the 1940’s, he continued learning his craft at various smaller publishing companies
Frazetta burst on to the comics scene in the early 1950’s and worked on many mainstream publications. This work led to a nine year run with Andy Capp on Li’l Abner. Eventually his comic artwork slowed due to changing times and went to work for men’s magazines.
A painting for Mad Magazine in 1964 changed everything. United Artists studios saw his parody ad on the back cover and hired him to create the movie poster for “What’s New Pussycat?” He earned a year’s salary in one afternoon and was hired for more. His subsequent work for paperbacks, magazines and movie posters established him as one of the world’s top commercial artists.
By the 1980’s, Frazetta was widely sought after as the leading fantasy artist. Big Hollywood names like Copolla, Spielberg, Lucas and more commissioned him for various movie projects. Many of his paintings have also been used for album covers by musicians like Nazareth, Molly Hatchet and most recently Wolfmother.
Frazetta was plagued later in life by health problems. His motor skills were impaired by a series of strokes in the 2000’s. He didn’t give up, just switched to his left hand to paint and draw. Eleanor, his wife since 1958, passed away in 2009 and their four children now run his estate and museum. He currently lives in Pennsylvania and continues to influence and inspire many within the fantasy and sci fi genre.
Contributing writer Area Orion