Monday, May 31, 2010


Here are some photos from the SKULLS reception last weekend at MF Gallery. It's a killer show and will be on display through June by appointment so if you live near Brooklyn be sure to check it out. Special thanks to my dear friends and fellow artists Robin Adams of BittersweetsNY and Pasquale Reca for turning out in my absence and supporting REAL underground art!

Two hot chicks totally ignoring my drawing.
MF GALLERY co-owner, curator and artist Martina Secondo Russo strikes a pose.
MF GALLERY co-owner, curator and artist Frank Russo with a cute friend.
Dan & Lino flanking my Darkthrone original.
Dan Foder of The Budos Band.
All photos courtesy of MF Gallery and Robin Adams.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This Saturday in Brooklyn...SKULLS!!!!

East Coast Fiends!
Check out this group exhibition at MF GALLERY this weekend!

Monday, May 10, 2010


You don't need a sentimental hack like me to tell you why Frank Frazetta was one of the world's greatest living fantasy visionaries and you don't need me to tell you how his passing this morning in a Ft. Myers, Florida hospital room at the age of 82 was an abysmal loss for all those who cherish his legacy so dearly. Much has been written about the Brooklyn-born child prodigy who gravitated toward baseball, girls and motorcycles before charging into one of the most inspired and influential illustration careers of the 20th Century. The subject of many books and a 2003 documentary, Painting With Fire, the trajectory of his life and the far-reaching impact of his tremendous talent has been well chronicled. So you don't need a sappy misguided disciple like me to tell you why Frank Frazetta was the unintentional father of contemporary heavy metal album cover graphics, custom van murals, iron-on decals, amusement park coke mirrors and just about every other form of bad ass commercial detritus of the past 50 years. But I'm going to tell you anyway...

Frazetta strikes at the gut. The perceptive viewer will experience an immediate physiological stimulation to his paintings that often manifests as a slight stirring in the groin, a fight-or-flight tightening of the balls not unlike that felt just before a fist fight or dog attack, as your eyes are drawn into a primordial realm of transcendental victory or soul-rending defeat. His bold pyramidal compositions invoke strange atavistic memories. Something inside you slips. Muscle quivers under taut skin. The feral wild-eyed berserker summons courage previously unknown because there simply is no other choice. Force fights inertia with a stick and stone. The arena of opposition captured on a Frazetta canvas in smoldering burnt umber washes and slashes of vermillion is the archetypal Axis of life and death. It is a drama as old as time itself, endlessly unfurling like silent strands of DNA. Perhaps it is not entirely coincidental that all those intertwined limbs, serpentine leviathans and primordial roots so often resemble double helices. Frazetta's creative heroics are in fact apt metaphors for white blood cells defending an organism from invading bacteria and cancer. There is no question of "right" or "wrong." There is no hesitation. There is only eternal conflict and the indomitable will to survive. Wimp critics who only see a distorted caricature of the misogynistic male psyche or a D&D nerd's wet dream have missed the point completely. Frazetta's magic is lost on flaccid intellectuals. If it is possible to imbue the fine art equivalent of a really awesome Hanna-Barbera cartoon with a mysticism and gravity approaching religious, Frank Frazetta has done just that. And his legacy lives on!

I occasionally hunch over a desk for long hours pulling weird shit out of my head with a cheap ballpoint pen because of Frank Frazetta's powerful childhood influence. Frazetta was my Walt Disney and Carl Barks. My mom bought me my first Frazetta book way back when I was in third grade (which was 1980 for those keeping score) and I grew up immersed in his imagery. Puzzles, shirts, books, posters, and of course album covers. In 1972 his painting 'The Snow Giants' appeared on Dust's final LP Hard Attack (which actually ain't that hard) and his painting 'The Brain' appeared first as the cover for Eerie Magazine #8 and later on Nazareth's 1977 album Expect No Mercy. Soon after his work would appear on several Molly Hatchet records throughout the late 70's and early 80's. Frazetta imitators such as Boris Vallejo have also appeared on many album covers and I'm not even slightly ashamed or surprised to note the unconscious and decidedly primitive homage to Frazetta's masterpieces 'Against The Gods' and 'Jongar Fights Back' in my own recent drawing for Darkthrone's incredible new LP Circle The Wagons! Take a look:

At least I'm in decent company. Here are just a few more recent examples of Frazetta's continued influence on popular culture. The Australian band Wolfmother appropriated a detail of his epic 'Sea Witch' for their 2005 LP which was more recently echoed in the original painting below by Arik Roper, himself an unapologetic Frazetta devotee, for High On Fire's Snakes For The Divine:

Ok, enough of the cultural analysis and grim personal musings. It's time to celebrate a life well-lived and an end bravely embraced! Farewell, Frank Frazetta. Thank you for all the joy and mystery you've brought to the world. You are already missed but your testosterone-fueled vision lives on in the memories and palettes of all those who's lives you have touched. Onward to CROM'S HALL! Here's a suggested playlist in honor of Frank Frazetta and if anyone turns this into an actual podcast I will gladly send you a signed print in gratitude:
  • BASIL POLEDOURIS: Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom
  • DUST: Learning To Die
  • HIGH ON FIRE: Thraft of Caanan
  • CIANIDE: Mountains In Thunder
  • SLAUGHTER: Death Dealer
  • DESTROYER 666: King of Kings
  • NAZARETH: Revenge Is Sweet
  • WITCHKILLER: Day Of The Saxons
  • COVEN: Riddle Of Steel
  • CIRITH UNGOL: Frost And Fire
  • MANOWAR: Black Wind, Fire And Steel
  • FRANK SINATRA: I'll Never Smile Again
Frank Frazetta
February 9, 1928 - May 10,2010


A moment of silence for Frank Frazetta, the world's greatest fantasy painter & illustrator, who passed this morning following a stroke in a Florida hospital. Too grief-stricken to write now. More soon...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I'm displaying two original drawings (not prints!) in this KILLER skull-themed group exhibition at MF Gallery in Brooklyn! If you live in the New York City area be sure to crawl out of the sewer on Saturday May 22 and support real underground art! "I want your skull, I need your skull..."