The Royal Scumbags - In the sky

Monday, April 6, 2009


Frank Frazetta, born on the 9th day of February, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, discovered the wonders of drawing before he was three, when he sold his first crayon drawing to Grandma - for the tidy sum of one penny. It was through her interest and encouragement, that he continued his drawings through those early years. When he hit kindergarten, his teachers were astounded that there was a child only 5 1/2 drawing better then ten-year-olds. Throughout Elementary School, Frazetta created comic books with the main character a snowman and an array of assorted characters.

By the time he was eight, one of his teachers, who was fascinated by his talent, approachedFrank's parents and persuaded them to enroll him in Art School - The Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. The Academy was little more that a one-floor, three-room affair with a total of thirty students, all adults. It was manned by a single teacher, Classical Italian Artist - Michael Falanga. To this day, Frank can remember the look of skepticism as he was signed in. You could easily imagine the Professor thinking "Oh no! Not another child prodigy!" Nevertheless, he sat him down with pencil and paper and asked him to copy a picture of a group of ducks. About 30 minutes later, he returned to check on his progress, took one look at the drawing, grabbed it and leaped into the air shouting, "Mama Mia, Mama Mia! We have a genius here!"

As time passed, the Professor became so impressed with Frank's ability that he vowed to send him to a famous Art School in Italy. Unfortunately, Michael Falanga died and the dream of Frank attending Art School died with him. Mr. Falanga's school disbanded shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, in Elementary School, he was awarded the Art Medal and on Graduation Day the Principal gave such a flattering speech that it made Frank's parents beam with pride.

In 1970 Doubleday's Science Fiction Book Club embarked on an aggressive program of reprinting Edgar Rice Burroughs' interplanetary adventures. Naturally, Frazetta's phenomenally popular covers for Ace and Lancer made him the only logical choice to illustrate the series. His paintings for A Princess of Mars, the first in the series, was so perfectly "Frazetta".

Although Frank and Ellie were quite comfortable in their long Island home and were keeping busy raising their four children, they moved back to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to be closer to family. While there, Ellie had saved some money and taken a gamble by starting a small business called Frazetta Prints. It consisted of just 5 posters of some of Franks early work. She worked diligently with a few distributors to get Franks artwork into the public eye. Now some 28 years later it has blossomed into an empire of over 150 different prints, books, lithographs and literally anything that pertains to Frank's art.

While living in Sheepshead Bay for only 1 1/2 years, Frank stilled longed for open space and privacy. With his son starting high school and the school violence getting out of control, Frank decided to set out and fulfill his longtime dream. They started out in search for that old farm house and lots of land. I recall driving with my Dad for days in western NJ and PA for his dream place - to no avail. The prices had sky rocketed in the past 10 years and anything my Dad liked as already well out of his price range. All the quaint old farms and parcels of land had been bought up and developed upon. Dad turned to me and said, " I can't believe I waited to long, there is nothing left. We drove hundreds of miles with not even one prospect.

Then, low and behold a Realtor in Stroudsburg, PA said. You know, there is this old place just out of town that has 67 acres and a pond. But the house is extremely run down and practically worthless. My Dad said lets take a look. My Father always told me, you can always fix or replace a home, but there is no substitution for land and privacy. Dad always had great foresight, especially when he first laid his eyes on the house. He imediately fell in love with it. Sure, the house was run down, the rolling fields were over grown with brush and trees, the entire place was seemingly never maintained. Maybe even since the turn of the century! The asking price was one which Dad could afford, the only thing holding my Father back from closing was that someone had already put in a bid! Just $500 less than the asking price. The offer was refused and to my Dad's disbelief the potential buyer had walked away from the deal! Before you could put a period on the end of the previous sentence, my Father said "I'll take it."

Oh Boy! All I could think of was how much my Mom loved my Dad, to move into this place. There was a lot of work to be done in order to turn this run down house into a home. Mom and Dad were determined to make this place home for their 4 children, and with the aid of a mop, Kubota tractor and lots of hard work this old house had transformed into the now beautiful estate where 3 of the 4 children, and 9 grandchildren reside. In just 6 months the place was beautiful, the fields were cut, the house was painted, the children were hitting golf balls, fishing and playing hide & seek on the property. That very same year a developer had offered my Dad 4 times more then the purchased price. With no disrespect to the gentleman my Father said polietely, " no thank you, this is our home now. " Some 29 years later the now beautiful estate will welcome the addition of the new

His recovery sparked a creative renewal and in the early 1990's Frank reemerged in to the market. He allowed a few of his originals to be sold at auction at Sotheby's and Christie's, where they went for high five-figure sums.

Frazetta finished a lovely oil entitled "The Princess and the Panther" and it was used on the cover of Heavy Metal magazine. This was followed by the publication of Small Wonders in 1991, a book by Kitchen Sink Press devoted to reprinting many of Frazetta's funny-animal drawings from the 1940's. This was closely followed by the publication of Kitchen Sink's Pillow Book, a collection of Frazetta's watercolors from many stages of his career. Most of these watercolors were personal productions designed to be given as presents on certain holidays (Ellie would often encourage Frank to paint her a watercolor for Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.) or simply done to amuse himself. The book has a small selection. There are another hundred images that have never been seen before.

Renewed interest in the work of Frazetta reached a fever pitch in the middle 90's. A number of people arose with new projects and ideas. Randy Bowen convinced Frank to help him co-create a bronze sculpture of Frazetta's signature oil, The Death Dealer . Glenn Danzig, a longtime Frazetta fan, collector, and emerging rock star, decided to begin his own publishing company, Verotik. He commissioned Frank to produce a book of pencil drawings based on monsters and demons. This extraordinary volume was intitled, Illustrations Arcanum, and it immediately became a wild hit. The quality of the art and the beautiful production values blended to energize Frazetta's name in the art world. Danzig followed this success with a series of Death Dealer comics, other assorted fantasy-supernatural theme productions, a series of sculptures based on Frank's Fire and Ice models, and a new character entitled, Jaguar God, for which Frazetta painted several amazing oils. Danzig's company presented the Frazetta name to the newest generation and they responded.

My guy SNOE let me use this guy's VIDEO and it's off the the chain! I highly encourage people to watch it! Very good and very encouraging.


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