Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jeffrey Jones (1944-2011): Fantasy Master

by Don Mangus, Heritage Auctions, newsletter, 2011

With the passing of Jeffrey Jones, fantasy art has lost one of its stellar talents. On at least one occasion the great Frank Frazetta himself was said to have proclaimed Jones "the greatest living painter." As IDW Publishing, producers of the lavish monograph, Jeffrey Jones: A Life in Art, put it, "Over the past 40 years, there have been few artists who have received as much acclaim and garnered as much attention as Jeffrey Jones."

Like so many young fantasy artists, Jones began his career as an enthusiastic fanzine contributor. In the late sixties and early seventies, he sporadically appeared in mainstream comics, along the way creating an early yarn that debuted in Charlton's Flash Gordon #13, a handful of moody Gothic romance covers for DC, a brood of blood-chilling horror blockbusters for Warren, Skywald, and Major Magazines, and a delightful smattering of Underground and Ground-level comix.

By the mid-sixties, Jones had established himself as a prolific, much-in-demand paperback cover artist, and he often painted in a bravura style that was inspired by such giants of "the Golden Age of Illustration" as Howard Pyle, Harvey Dunn, Dean Cornwell, J. C. Leyendecker, and N. C. Wyeth.

Among Jones' regular comic features was the whimsical and poetic "Idyl" for National Lampoon and "I'm Age" for Heavy Metal.

From 1975-79 Jones shared a work space in Manhattan's Chelsea district with fellow artists Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael W. Kaluta. The group was collectively dubbed "The Studio" by fandom, and in 1979, Dragon's Dream produced a celebrated volume of their work by that name.

Underwood Books, publishers of the splendid, in-depth 2002 monograph, The Art of Jeffrey Jones, aptly noted, "Comfortable as both a book cover illustrator and as a comic artist, Jeffrey Jones gained a large and loyal following that resulted in the artist being honored with a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist. Though he left the commercial field in the late eighties to devote full attention to fine art, Jones continued to explore the worlds of science fiction and fantasy — sometimes heroic, sometimes erotic, occasionally hilarious, and always breathtakingly beautiful."

Jeffrey Jones' glorious legacy of fine artworks assures that this artist will long be remembered as one of the greatest talents of our generation. We offer our heartfelt condolences and best wishes to the family, friends, and fans of this unique, evocative, and ethereal artist.

No comments:

Post a Comment