Friday, January 04, 2013

Arty Farty Friday ~ Boris Vallejo, Master of Fantasy Art

Born in Lima, Peru on 8 January 1941, into a family of distinguished lawyers, he gravitated to art and music at an early age. His first aspiration was to be a concert violinist, took violin lessons for seven years. Changed track and studied medicine for two years. His study of human anatomy was almost certainly a great help to him later on when he became a professional artist and illustrator whose works almost always prominently portray a perfect specimen of the human body. With encouragement of friends who had seen his artwork, he decided to apply to the National School of Fine Arts in Lima and was granted a 5-year scholarship to the graphic arts division. He graduated with a "best student" accolade.

In 1964, with a portfolio of some of his works, and 80 dollars in his pocket, he emigrated to the United States, arrived in New York with no knowledge of English. Fellow-Peruvians helped him settle and he was soon producing artwork for advertising, greetings cards, book and album covers, movie posters. Over the years he has produced a huge volume of work for his current specialty, the Fantasy field. His latest art tends towards the erotic rather than straight-ahead fantasy.....sign of the times, I guess!

"I had already been working successfully as an illustrator for a few years, when I discovered fantasy art on an American comic magazine cover. It was a heroic woman fighting a prehistoric monster, and suddenly I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I have always had a special love for the perfect structure of the human body, and fantasy art enabled me to depict muscular and sensuous bodies in all variations in my works. And as I love human bodies, I always try to paint them as beautiful and as perfect as possible".

Vallejo's mastery of oil painting is obvious. His classic sensibilities stem from his admiration of Old Masters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Leonardo: "During my early years I used to study the works of such masters again and again. The painters I liked best were two Spanish ones, though: Murillo and Velazquez".

Vallejo married his second wife in 1994 - a fellow-artist of the Fantasy genre, Julie Bell, who also models for him and is a former nationally ranked competitive bodybuilder.

A quick look at Mr Vallejo's natal chart to discover whether his gravitation to his particular style of painting and his choice to paint fantasy/erotic art is indicated.

I see it at once - a Grand Trine (harmonious linked configuration of 3 X 120 degree angles). Linked planets Sun/Mercury in Capricorn with Uranus + possibly Moon in Taurus, and Neptune in Virgo. All the Earth signs - in this case I think that signifies an honouring of traditional art technique in his style, while remaining commercial and successfully business-oriented. Planets involved in the Grand Trine link Sun and Mercury - the artist's core self and mode of thinking to Uranus (and depending on time of birth) Moon: Uranus brings a futuristic modern "feel" to his traditional painting style; also linked is Neptune, the fantasy planet. That pretty much covers it, in context of his art, except that the erotic aspect isn't clearly indicated by the Grand Trine. I can find no time of birth for the artist, his ascendant is a likely key, perhaps a Scorpio ascendant, or Pluto rising?

I'll add just a few of examples of Boris Wallejo's artwork, the best place to see more, in large format, is at the online galleries HERE where his wife Julie
Bell's work can also be viewed - to be honest it's not easy to tell their work apart! Typing the artist's name into a Google Image search will also bring up a huge selection of examples. Much of his work was produced to relate to specific fiction or myth. His painting at the top of the post is titled Atlas (as if you hadn't worked that out already!)

Pygmalion & Galatea

(I think at some point Vallejo must have illustrated a calendar, using the 12 zodiac signs here are 3 examples; the rest can be found via Google Image)




Mistress of Fire

Mistress of the Air

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mike said...

I've never quite understood the association of erotic-sensual art with the sci-fi genre, but the two are certainly intertwined. Similar to WWE's "Wrestlemania".

Vallejo's planets all have dispositors back to Venus-Jupiter in mutual reception, which probably assists his artistic renderings of sensual, super-human physiques.

Appropriate T.Pratchett quotation on your sidebar...I'd add that fantasy is also a relief valve for the mind. Let's many times and ways have I spent my fantasy lottery winnings?

Twilight said...

mike ~~ The erotic seeps through into a lot of strange places - depending on what one finds erotic, of course. One person's erotic will be another's complete turn-off. I find Vallejo's figures interesting, but not particularly erotic; I didn't post images of his most sensual/erotic work, but even figures in those are just a bit too perfect for me to find them erotic.

Thanks for the additional astrological insight.

We do need to escape into fantasy sometimes, waking dreams that can save us from insanity. :-)

James Higham said...

Thought Atlas held up the heavens?

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ Funny you should mention that - I thought he held up the sky to keep it separate from Earth, but then how would sculptors and artists be able to depict the sky without also showing the Earth ?

Found this answer online:

....early astronomers noticed that the stars moved in a circular pattern. Sometime around 600 B.C.E. these astronomers theorized that that the stars were attached to the inside of a hollow sphere that surrounded the Earth. This sphere move around the planet throughout the year, creating the movement of the stars. Statues of this time depict Atlas holding this "celestial" sphere.

During the Renaissance there was a big classical revival with lots of copying of ancient Greek works. However, when the artists saw sculptures of Atlas they mistook the celestial sphere for a depiction of the Earth. When they made copies of the statues, they used a globe. This is why Atlas is now shown holding the planet instead of the stars.

DC said...

great post...always loved his work. Btw...check out this story....tragic but worth mentioning when it comes to South American artists of our age

Twilight said...

DC - Thank you! Oh that is a tragic story - whether he died from natural causes or otherwise.....I do hope it turns out NOT to have been "otherwise" because that would pile horror onto tragedy.