-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 Art!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…