Monday, May 17, 2010

Death of a legend

As most of you know Frank Frazetta passed away last week and now it is Ronnie James Dio. Luckily these two had long, full lives and I hope they got to say what they came to say. Yet it is still hard to let go of your heroes.

Like 99.99% of artists in the horror, fantasy or sci-fi genres, especially in the over 30 generation, I was inspired by Frazetta. Growing up in the 70s I was witness to the maturation of comics. Publishers had figured out the way around the Comics Code was to put out magazines. The art on and between these covers was like none that had been seen before. Gogos, Frazetta, Larkin, etc. They created comic art that was more than comic art. It was fine art for people that didn't like fine art. Masterpieces we could enjoy. And in the days before the internet it was impossible to get the inside scoop on the creators. Everything was in its own context. And the artists were these mysterious shadowy figures that lived in caves or castles and wore hooded robes...Or so I thought.

Frazetta inspired me artistically. But he was not the one I wanted to emulate. Even though his work had a subliminal influence on me there were others that I wanted to emulate. It was until the early part of this century that Frazetta's paint stained hand truly guided me to the path I needed to be on.

I came across an article on a website that told of how at some point the Frazettas, Frank and Ellie, got tired of publishers selling prints of his work and keeping the bulk of the profits. Ellie took things into her own hands and started up a publishing company just to handle Frank's reproductions. It also told how Ellie had taken control of Frank's career acting as agent and business manager and hoe successful their venture was. That's where the big loud "click" came in.

For years I had struggled as an artist, trying to break in through the tried and true venues. Reading this story made me realize that as an artist I didn't need anyone to make my career for me. I didn't need that lucky break. I'd make that lucky break myself! If I wanted it done right I had to do it myself. And then my wife stepped up to act as business manager and things have been great ever since.

The Frazettas showed me that as an artist I needed to take a more active part in my career. That no one gave a rat's ass about my career than me and my family and that's who should be in charge.

My career owes a lot to Frank and Ellie. Not because he showed me how art should be done but because they showed me how my career should be done. I think others should take a moment and look past the art at the people behind it. That is the legacy that could possibly be lost for future generations. Decades from now the art will overshadow these creators and entrepreneurs behind the dragons and swords and scantily clad ladies. We should hold on to it while it is still here.

Frank and Ellie will be missed are being missed.

1 comment:

Connie Faye said...

Great entry Billy! I've been trying to years for my husband to do the business end of my work... but I've no luck so far... >.<