For those of you who may not have heard yet, Frank Frazetta died of a stroke on Monday, May 10th at the age of 82.
Mr. Frazetta's work was an entry point into the art world for generations of people like myself. I remember being a little kid in the '70's and staring in awe at the covers of my mom's Conan and John Carter of Mars paperback novels--just marveling at the light and shadow, the posing, the definition of the characters, even if I lacked the artistic background at that age to verbalize what made his work so hypnotic. But while producing art of his quality has been a lifelong goal of mine, I must admit that it's the strength of Mr. Frazetta's character when facing adversity which is far more inspiring to my soul than his vast artistic skills. According to his documentary Frank Frazetta: Painting with Fire, Mr. Frazetta suffered a stroke in his later years which left him unable to paint or draw with his (preferred) right hand. Rather than hang up his brushes and retire, Mr. Frazetta trained himself to paint with his left hand and continued to create art. It is that determination that I find most inspiring. At a time when most people would take it as a sign that it's time to retire and rest upon a lifetime of achievements, Frank Frazetta fought both the odds and his infirmity to show the world that he wasn't finished creating art.
The following are links to two articles online that discuss Mr. Frazetta's work: Animation Magazine, Cartoon Brew.