-By Petar Meseldzija
About a year ago I posted an entry about the making of the Death Dealer drawing, which was my first homage to Frazetta.
Upon seeing the finished piece, the client who commissioned the drawing asked
me if I would be willing to do a painting of the same composition. I accepted
but shortly after I realized that this might be even a bigger challenge, because
the inclusion of color in the process will increase my anxiety, for now I will
be working in the shadow of the full scale of Frazetta’s talent. The question
about the actual meaning of a homage, and the purpose of such a venture appeared in my mind. To be honest, I never liked
the surrogates and epigones. I always greatly appreciated the integrity and the uniqueness of the artistic
expression. Therefore making just a simple
copy of this iconic character was out of the question.
I have to say that making copies of other artist’s work is not strange to me.
During my studies at the art academy I did a few copies of the old master’s
paintings. The purpose of it was sheer practice. In this way I hoped to learn
something that I could not get from my art teachers. Although it was not done by the book, so to
speak, for I painted the copies from the reproductions, not from the originals,
it was highly satisfying and useful, and I collected the knowledge that I was
not able to find anywhere else back then.
Milk Maid, after Vermeer, 1991.
When it comes to my Frazetta Death Dealer interpretations, my objectives
are quite different . Although I have to “copy” the master’s
character, I don’t intend to copy his technique or style. I am supposed to take his character as a starting pointing and
then bring it into my world and reinterpret it so that it gets a distinctive flavor
of my style and my thinking. But still, a heavy shadow of the master's abilities is hanging
above my head and making me feel a little incompetent. Of course I knew that Frazetta
was truly unique and marvelous, but only when you try to make a Frazetta
painting, you realize how damn good he was. He was, and still is, the Michelangelo of Fantasy
Anyway, here is the underpainting of my new Death Dealer piece. At this
moment I really don’t know how the painting will evolve. I have some vague
ideas about the direction I want to go, but it’s more likely that the
forthcoming battle with this demanding piece will define the final results. I
have to wait and see, just like you…