death-dealerFrank Frazetta. “Death Dealer.” Acrylic. Like many young artists, my first love was fantasy and science fiction cover art. Frazetta, the Brothers Hildebrandt, Alan Lee, Boris Vallejo… and going back into history… NC Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, many more. Today, it’s called “imaginative realism.” The artist paints what he invents in his mind, not what he can see before his eyes, yet it appears as if it were real. To do that, one must accumulate understanding of human, animal, natural and structural forms. Understand light and color and feel the gravity of things untouchable. “The freight of flesh, and the weight of bone,” as Rico Lebrun put it. Models might be employed, but the scene is constructed, not observed. I loved my mentor Ed Boccia, who taught me so much, but my greatest teacher was Barry Schactman. He taught me to draw not only what I see, but what I know. And how to use my judgement to select what to put on the surface in order to convey the truth. Frank Frazetta is the god-king of fantasy art. There was no model in costume on horseback in his studio. He imagined the scene, drew it out of his brain and painted it. Look how powerful the steed, how menacing the figure. Frazetta’s trick was to paint mostly in monochrome or duochrome, then hit you with some high value, high chroma passages to pop everything to life.