My first summer job was working for a pet supply store called Ruffs Meow on Queens Boulevard. The owner was a guy named Dom who popped in from time to time to use the bathroom to smoke pot. He’d check on sales with the manager, a Jim Belushi-esque guy name Matthew, then disappear. I was fifteen and it was a good experience.
During my lunch breaks I’d usually go home for something to eat, but on payday I’d take the money and run nearly a mile from the store to Walden Books in Forest Hills and my first purchases with my hard-earned money were the Peacock Press/Bantam Books trades of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta and its follow ups. I savored each page of his work. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have that much talent. His work had so much power and vitality. His women had big asses and hips and even dimples on their thighs. They were fleshy and hot as hell. I admired his composition and palette.
Many years later the Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue had an exhibit of Frazetta’s work and seeing many of those canvases in person was mind blowing. As in the case of Norman Rockwell, seeing the originals blew any reproductions away. I was surprised at how small some of Frazetta’s paintings were, but though they were modest in size the art was barely contained in those frames. The colors and textures were unreal.
My own art never aspired to be like Frazetta’s. There was no way I’d ever come close and fantasy wasn’t really my bag, but he was, is and always will be an inspiration. I hope all the matters of his estate are resolved amicably and ethically. His legacy and work should be in museums to be enjoyed and admired for the ages.