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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Portrait of the Artist as a Young...WHAT?

Actors and presidential candidates are notorious for being haunted by less-than-savory episodes in their pasts. Does the same thing happen to artists?

I was looking through Lileks's Stagworld collection today, and came across this illustration of Nazi debauchery. I was struck anew by how very much this picture resembles the work of beloved science fiction artist Kelly Freas. It's the highlights of the bodies, and especially the hair, that reminds me of his paintings.

Compare the hair in this cover for John Brunner's The Stardroppers, or this one for Brunner's The Stone That Never Came Down. Or look at the girl in this one for Arthur Tofte's Crash Landing on Iduna. Unfortunately, depictions of Nazi orgies leave little opportunity for for Freas's trademark stars. This page (in French) has a nice collection of Freas illustrations.

There's no mention of Sir! in Freas's bibliography. To look at that, you'd think Freas had never done anything but covers from 1950 on. But I don't put everything in my vita, either. Not enough room!

I looked for a signature but didn't find one (perhaps Lileks cropped it off).

It may not be Freas's work. But if it is, the Nazi in the middle is probably not his conception of himself (as Lileks suggests). Freas apparently sees himself more like this.