Pages

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top 5 Frank Frazetta Facts

Last Tuesday we lost a great man. Frank Frazetta, a name synonymous with fantasy art, died at the age of 82. Fortunately he lived a full life, churning out some of the most iconic fantasy imagery of our time. His personal life was also as colorful as the paintings he did, a life I thought to honor by giving you guys the top 5 facts we know about the man known as "The Master."

Without further ado, I compiled and ranked some of the most amazing facts about Frank Frazetta...so you won't have to!


5. Child Prodigy

When I was eight years old, I couldn’t draw worth crap. To me people had three sticks for fingers, no noses, and scribbles for hair. For eight year old Frank Frazetta, drawing was literally child’s play.

The story goes that when Frank was eight years old, people saw his potential for art, so his parents sent him to study at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. It was there that he met his teacher Michael Falanga, an award-winning Italian artist. Falanga probably turned his snooty nose up at this upstart, a boy who at this stage in his life should be playing XBox in his living room all day.

Lots of kids whose parents thought their boy was ‘hot stuff’ probably came and went under Falanga’s watch, only to be found wanting. So when Falanga first met little Frank, he wasn't impressed. So he tested him, giving the boy some paper and pencils and made him copy a postcard depicting a group of ducks. When Falanga came back to check on the kid half an hour later, he looked at Frazetta’s drawing…and flipped his lid. It’s been said that Falanga grabbed the drawing and ran like a crazy dude down the school’s halls shouting “Mama Mia! We have a genius here!”

I dare you to find another eight year old that made an award-winning artist’s head explode with the awesomeness of a pencil drawing.


4. Man's Man

Let’s be honest, writing and drawing for comic books probably is in the lowest scale of things that need any sort of physical effort. It’s a wonder then that during Frank Frazetta’s peak, he was the most chiseled artist alive.


Look at this man. He’s got more muscles than an artist knows what to do with. He probably drew near his window shirtless in his spare time just to hear the sound of swooning women dropping on the pavement outside.

Speaking of women, Frazetta was also ladies man, with some of the most beautiful women in town becoming willing slaves to his rippled abs and pecs. But then he met 17-year-old Eleanor “Ellie” Kelly, and he never looked back. Frank once said, "I sensed that she would be forever loyal and I never ever had that feeling about any other girl I'd been involved with.” And true enough, despite being a hot chunk of beefcake who could have his way with any woman he wanted, Frank married Ellie in 1956 and stayed loyal to her his entire life. Now that's a real man.


3. Mighty Ballplayer

It wasn’t enough that Frazetta was born with the innate ability to draw the hell out of anything. He was good at baseball too. Not just good in the ‘Hey, I hitted the ball when I swung this here bat!’ kind of good. He was so good at baseball that, when he was a teenager, he was scouted by the New York Giants, one of the biggest baseball teams in the U.S. at the time. Unfortunately for baseball and fortunately for us, Frank thought that sweating it out in the Minors was too big of a hassle, so he stuck to his art!


2. Ambidextrous

During Frazetta’s later years, his health problems came to a head when he suffered a series of strokes, leaving the right side of his body paralyzed. It’s was probably no big deal for a man like Frazetta, except for the fact that he made his living drawing and painting with his right hand.

For any lesser man, it would spell the end of the world. But this is Frazetta we’re talking about, sirs. He figured, I've been kicking all sorts of ass painting with my right hand, why not level the playing field? And so he went and trained himself to paint using his left hand… to the point that he became just as good at painting with it as his right!

Now that’s all sorts of messed up! Most of us would use our dominant hand all our lives for precision dexterity like handwriting and painting, with our weak hand not seeing action ever. Frazetta not only relearned his uber hax painting skills (in his freaking 70's, no less!) using the hand he’s never used up to that point, he also made life his bitch, proving that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.


1. HE DID IT HIS WAY

It's hard to do what you want to do in the comic book industry these days. Editorial mandates and fickle-minded fans makes it profitable to play it safe, with recycled events and sticking with art styles that work without doing anything new.

But Frank Frazetta didn't bother listening to anyone telling him what to do or how to do it, or how he can't do what he wants to do. He just went and did it. His style wasn't very popular early on, but he kept on going, developing and learning his own personal style. Now, his distinctive brush strokes, his voluptuous women, his bare-chested men breaking the skulls of otherworldly creatures, all scream his name to the high heavens, and no one can mistake that voice as anything but Frazetta.

Frazetta himself said it best: "Good or bad, the one thing I can say about my art is, if I can quote Sinatra, I did it my way."


Those are the top 5 Frank Frazetta facts as ranked by yours truly. Thank you for everything, Master Frazetta, we won’t forget you!

If you know of any more facts, or just want to talk about Frazetta, leave a comment and let's discuss. Thanks for reading!



For those who want to know more about the man known as Frank Frazetta, check out these useful and fantastic links:
http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/fantasy/Frank-Frazetta.html
http://www.tcj.com/interviews/frank-frazetta-interview

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...