Thursday, January 29, 2009


Akin to the Seagrave Vs. Repka post I did a while back, here's another Awesome Artist Face-Off, this time pitting two fantasy/sci-fi masters, Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta, against each other in a bare-knuckled brawl to the death. Examples of the art of each contender will be shown, with a brief analysis and artist profile. Enjoy!

Right: Boris Vallejo

Born: January 8, 1941 in Lima, Peru

Currently resides: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Known for: Began his career with Sword and Sorcery-type stuff, heavy on the Fantasy elements. More recently Vallejo has become more involved with "erotica" and naked barbarian chicks. Often collaborates with wife Julie Bell. Frequently produces magazine covers, paintings, calendars, and the occasional movie poster.

Above: A Vallejo sketch documenting his obsession with scantily-clad women riding monsters.
Below: Hip-hop centaurs, apparently.

Above and below: Boris does like the ladies. Yes he does.

Above: Certain bands have been known to appropriate Vallejo's artwork (without permission) for flyers. Shame on them.

Below: A very Frazetta-esque Vallejo.

Below: Vallejo's first movie poster, for 1968's "Barbarella".

Above and below: Well done, Boris. Plus 10 points.

Below: Boris shows his sense of humor, spoofing himself on the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" movie poster.

Below: The best painting EVER.

Awesome Vallejo tribute/montage (music by James Horner):

Left: Frank Frazetta (self-portrait)

Born: February 9, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY

Currently resides: On a 67-acre estate in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania

Known for: Started out working on comic books and covers of pulp novels. His art has been used on several album covers and calendars. Claims his brutal barbarian imagery was inspired by actual events from his youth, scrapping in the streets of Brooklyn. Produced a 1983 animated film, "Fire And Ice", based on his designs, and was also the subject of a 2003 documentary film, "Frazetta: Painting With Fire". Has also dabbled in movie posters.

Above: A fine example of classic Frazetta barbarian imagery.

Above and below: Sweet rockers Molly Hatchet used both of these paintings for record covers at some point.

Below: Rock 'n' rollers Dust used this one on the cover of their 1972 album, "Hard Attack".

Below: Did you know Frazetta painted the "Mad Max" movie poster? Cuz he did.

Above: Art for the 1977 Clint Eastwood classic "The Gauntlet".
Below: Poster from the 1967 Roman Polanski film "The Fearless Vampire Killers". Awesome art, Awesome movie.

Above: Rad Nazareth album cover. Plus 10 points.
Below: Wolfmother used Frazetta's art on their self-titled debut album. Minus 10 points.

Trailer for "Fire And Ice" (RULES):

Trailer for "Painting With Fire":

The results: Gotta give it to Frazetta, just for being way more METAL. Vallejo's stuff rules, but ventures a little too far into the realm of jerk-off material. Plus he kind of looks like a child molester.


Aesop said...

Frazetta by a long shot. You know that one painting by Frazetta of the berserker on the horse, and his face looks vaguely retarded? I think aboout that painting whenever I'm playing drums.

Shelby Cobras said...

yeah, Frazetta had it all along. The only thing that made it anywhere near close is that Vallejo of the overly-muscled Jesus busting up the cross. It gets me every time.

Steven said...

I've never seen the Jesus painting before, I'll have to send that to my mom. She'll like that one.

I really dig the blond-with-horrifically-large-spider piece.

For reason I have this urge to listen to Cirith Ungol now...

Steven said...

Oh, and one more thing... Is it just me or does "Winged Terror" look just a little like Matisse's "The Dance"?

Anonymous said...

Same here, Vallejo's rendering is a bit too slick for my tastes...
Altough, Barbarella was a pretty cool movie but you should definately check out the comic it was based on, by Jean-Claude Forest. Beautiful, fluid black and white artwork.

Anonymous said...

Gotta go with Frazetta as well. Vallejo just can't match the barbarism of Frazettas pieces.

For the next standoff, why don't you do something about Phil Lawvere aka. True King of 80's Metal Cover Art?
Can't find shit about him on the internet though... Maybe he's dead.

Philip La Vere said...

Nope, not dead. Just wishing I could collect some royalties... I also changed my name to La Vere and became a photographer for a while - so that's why I couldn't be found.

Thanks for the immense compliment (undeserved I fear) though. My only claim to fame was in coming up with the name 'Kreator' for Noise records back in 81. Originally they had a scandinavian name for creature spelled something like creatúr if I remember right. I new the name I gave them would sell to the American kids... and man did it. Oh yeah, and the fact that Slayer ripped off my demon head with the carved name in the forehead. Cheers!

Philip La Vere said...

Oh and Frazetta was light years beyond Boris.

The latter photographed models and basically copied them into paintings that borrowed from Frazetta's sense of color and elements. Frazetta though,was trained in comic book art, where figures can assume extreme exaggeration of proportion in order to achieve effect. It was that ability to work from his imagination rather than photo realism that made his work superior. Boris was better promoted though.

I idolized Frazetta, and never even came close to being fit to shine his shoes.

Anonymous said...

Vallejo is beaten FAR OUT by Frazetta. Frazetta is ART, Vallejo not.

Anonymous said...

I like each for different reasons and for their different approach to the same type of media, though I must admit to a love for Frazetta's style and execution of gut emotion that Boris lacks Frank more artist: Boris more technical though his painting chops cannot be denied. You're comparing apples and tomatoes ....though. oth are round'ish red fruits, you can't use both for Marinara and cobbler though both dishes have their merits.By the way the 3rd painting after your Mollyhatchet comment is by "Earl Norem" not frazetta (though the influence is obvious.)

Viagra Online said...

wow I don't know what to say, both of them are a real masters in this area, each one have a unique style and in some detail one is different to other, but in talent this is a tie, from my point of view of course.

Anonymous said...

Frazetta is extreme,edgy and evokes awe; Vallejo just seems like a slicker but not as intense version of Fraz... said...

Boris Vallejo (born January 8, 1941) is a Peruvian-born American painter. He immigrated to the United States in 1964, and he currently resides in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He frequently works with Julie Bell, his wife, painter, and model.

Vallejo works almost exclusively in the fantasy and erotica genres. His hyper-representational paintings have graced the covers of dozens of science fiction paperbacks and are featured in a series of best-selling glossy calendars. Subjects of his paintings are typically Sword and sorcery gods, monsters, and well-muscled male and female barbarians engaged in battle. Some of his male figures were modeled by Vallejo himself, and many of his later female characters were modeled by his wife. His latest works still retain heavy fantasy elements, but lean more towards the erotic rather than pure fantasy themes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys Vallejo is the clear winner.

Unknown said...

Frazetta has the action and adrenaline. Vallejo's stuff is very posing model type. It looks real life but im not looking for tht in a painting. The emotion and drama is missing in valejo's style. its too posed. and all the women have 70's and 80's hairdo instead of the wild natural hair like in frazettas art. that makes boris look a lil stupid and seems like he copied even the hair of the model who was posing.

bluegoldspirit said...

Boris is a pale imatation of the master. Frazetta redefined comic art with his dynamic, masterful compositions, raw energy, and creation of complete and real alternate universes. His Conan series of cover art actually exceeds and redefines the Robert E. Howard stories. To be fair, Vallejo is a highly successful commercial illustrator, in an advertising sense. Frazetta is much more than that. His ART is on a par and probably exceeds Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, and other great illustrators of the 20th century. I am a graphic designer and illustrator, and used to have this argument with a fellow artist, who actually favored Vallejo. In my mine, it's no contest. Frazetta is the master.

Unknown said...

Umm.....the painting after Frank Frazetta's Conan the Conquerer , is by Earl Norem.....not Frazetta.
It was done by Earl for one of the Savage Sword of
Conan magazines. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

boris is just pale copy of frazetta - look at their two pictures of conan for example - the conan on your page is not the frazetta one !

Anonymous said...

Frazetta did NOT paint the Mad Max movie poster. Yes, whoever did it was trying to evoke Frazetta, but Frank could have drawn and painted better than that with his foot.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Frazetta didn't paint the Mad Max poster. Looks more like Ken Kelly to me.

Anonymous said...

Frazetta is the master. Look at his ink s and drawings and subject matter. He'll he even did Bo-Deracs private stationary.Bet you've never seen that. Many accurate comments above!Bravo.

Luis Diaz said...

That weird Conan with the skull was done by Earl Norem not Frazetta. You can see his signature on the right.
I think it's silly to compare the two. Like comparing Jeff Jones and Frazetta because they were influenced by one and one was there at least a decade before the other. It's just not fair if a person had a head start or created the race entirely. Like it or not Boris was more productive, but also had more misses than hits. That said it is entirely a different manner of painting. He created a world that didn't exist before in fantasy art. A photorealistic approach where the the models were more real and yet some of his compositions had an Art Nouveau aesthetic. He was more involved in creating beauty with muscular physiques than gut wrenching action. Boris' work has some drawbacks of course. Sometimes it can feel hokey and dated. His art and Frazetta's inspired all those fantasy van and car paintings of the 70's and 80's. Even Frazetta knew some of his work was a little too stuck in the times and he had to repaint some or paint over many of his work because he felt it wouldn't stand the test of time. Some don't. Both artists' influence on other artists' work can't be quantified, but Frazetta tends to have a life in his work where Frazatta puts himself(sometimes literally) in it. I would think their work resembled closer to their own personalities I'm guessing. Frazetta from his interviews seems like a rough egotistical force while Boris seems like a softer spoken elegant person. Frazetta is closer to the Howard Pyle/N.C. Wyeth line of artists while Boris for the most part created a branch from the work Frazetta started and grew on that. That said Frazetta's influence of Z. Burian and J. Allen St. John. Another thing Boris brought was the hyper sexuality of the times. There is more of an eroticism to Boris' work. Frazetta's is more childish in some ways or stuck in an era (50's?). Boris took so many assignments that it hurt his work. If I'm not mistaken he also took Romance novels and some of his work has the quality. A certain melodrama that tends to cheapen his work. When I look back at the best of Boris Vallego's work I tend to look at the work he did in the 70's as his best. It was a little rougher and his women were a lot less muscular. By the time the 80's hit he was a star and his work was overly polished. He was a better commercial artist. Better at working on movie covers than Frazetta whose movie posters are usually not very memorable. His genre was Barbarian Fantasy. So comparing them is very difficult when you put them side by side. I don't see them as equals so it's not a fair fight.

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Anonymous said...

Just discovered this site while searching for Frazetta art. Might be late to the party here, but just to let you know, Frank Frazetta DID NOT paint the Mad Max poster. That is a common mistake that many believe. The Mad Max poster is pretty bad-ass, and whoever the artist is was obviously aping Frazetta's style, but it is definitely not Frazetta.

Also, you mistakenly have a painting of what looks to be Conan by Earl Norem posted among your Frazetta art. It's actually signed by Norem.

Oh, and as far as the Frank Frazetta vs. Boris Vallejo thing goes... FRAZETTA IS MASTER!

Anonymous said...

The artist of the MAD MAX poster is Bill Garland.