Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fantasy with an edge of the erotic ...

click to see all images at large size

When I was a kid, waaay back when, if I had a favorite artist, it was probably Frank Frazetta. I used to sit looking at his work, thinking ... how in the [expletive deleted] do you do this kind of stuff? There was only one Frazetta, and his talent was immense. For a start, he could draw the way the Olde Masters of other eons could draw -- and to a very great extent that is not something you can teach. Believe me: you can't be taught to draw, no matter what art schools want to tell you in their advertising! They can hone and perfect an existing talent, or knack, but if you just plain can't turn a three dimensional image into a two dimensional depiction on a sheet of paper, there is no alchemy in the universe to force your brain into doing it. 

Which pretty much describes me! I worked on paper, canvas and illustration board for years, but always from tracings ... I got rather good at coloring and embellishing, which are valid art forms too. Once, I took a still of a silent movie actress (Theda Bara, in fact!) and turned it into a 24" x 36" painting of an androgynous wood sprite sitting in a tree, surrounded by leaves and flowers about the same size as him/herself. It was actually quite a nice piece! I think I still have it, somewhere...

And nope, it didn't get me one step closer to being able to a) draw, or b) produce anything within a light year of the fantastic work of Frazetta and, some years later, Boris --

Fast forward about 30 years. 

Invent computers. And 3D modeling. And digital painting. 

Uh huh. 

Here, above, are Leon -- whom you know -- and Iphigenia, and this is actually a scene from something like Chapter 9 of Abraxas! You know, I was only up to the beginning of Chapter 2 of the story when the adjudicator at Project Wonderful slapped on the label of pornography, and I dropped it like a hot potato. The story was going in some fantastic directions, and in fact, it still it ... as the pieces you see here, and yesterday, suggest. 

The name of Iphigenia --? She was one of the daughters of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra -- say that three times fast, after you've had a very large gin and tonic. The name means something like "Born to Strength." But it's also the middle name of V.I. Warshawski ... there's a bit of trivia for you. I'm quite an aficionado of the novels ... there's one movie, with Kathleen Turner, that everyone likes to bash, but in fact, in retrospect, it was pretty good. I first encountered V.I. Warshawski in the radio (!) adaptation of Killing Orders, with Kathleen Turner as V.I., and British actor Martin Shaw has the love interest -- it was done by BBC4, circa 1990. If you can get hold of a copy, I can recommend it; it was wonderfully done. However, that's by the by. The V.  in the 'V.I.' stands for Victoria ... and the female 3D doll artists work with is called Victoria. So there you go -- Iphigenia. Makes a warped kind of sense. Maybe the gin and tonic has something to do with that...

So here's a little something from Abraxas, Chapter 9, the way the work would be rendered today, as big, labor-intensive, sumptuously-finished plate illustrations for a text-driven version of the story. And I gotta tell you, I am itching to write. I have loads of stories to tell, and am getting more and more eager to write the stories that lie behind some of these images!

Jade, May 23  
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