In praise of RGK
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
    Athens, Greece
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    In praise of RGK

    To warn, this is just rant I need to get out so, if it doesn't interest you, just don't waste time
    on this one.

    I was having a conversation with 3 guys yesterday. Now understand that where I live, with the
    exception of a couple of comic artists who are rather poor at their work I believe, there were no
    others who were interested in illustration and commercial art that I knew of, till I met these guys
    and got together.

    At some point of course, the great Frank Frazetta was mentioned. Now, Frank is undisputed...but
    there's many out there who, in my opinion, are also so great and inspiring, but maybe just weren't
    as lucky to find the product that would give them fame, tho Frank did eventually supersede that.

    I mentioned one of my favorites, Roy G Krenkel. Now Krenkel's stuff is something else. Frank him-
    self, it as been stated, loved the guy, praised his art and considered him to be an awesome artist,
    a guy who didn't accept mediocrity or laziness.

    This is very very easy to see. Krenkel was a "lunatic". Many if not most of his pen illustrations I've
    seen, are epic, with multiple characters going about doing things, with masses of architecture and
    loads of trinkets, clothing styles and anything else, creating a whole civilization right there. He just
    couldn't stand not creating or at least hinting at some huge, fantastic, alien civilization.

    Also, where most of us go for a square format, save proportions of our space to be illustrated, Roy
    would turn it all into a design, a vignette or sorts, that helps the composition, and adds to the
    beauty of all illustrated, as if the fantastic hyperbole of designs on doors, banners, pendants or
    whatever wasn't enough.

    And, to be even more crazy, the final kick in the groin...his ink marks and brushwork in his paintings,
    all have varied direction, shape, texture, do what there're supposed to in regards to rendering form,
    but also work together in a whole as a total design!!! In fact, many times it seems he would rather
    simplify or ignore form, in favor of the total design that would look like a splendid embroidery in the end.

    Now, I've seen this elsewhere too, in varying levels but RGK just took it to the max almost every
    time. There're many artist whose work I admire and love, Frank Frazetta, being right up there, but
    fewseem to kick me in the teeth, bash my brains out and seem to be screaming to me "Kid, you
    have much to learn so get your ass in gear".

    Anyway, I mention RGK to these guys. One of them didn't know him. The other two dismissed him
    on the grounds that his characters looked "weird", that ink art isn't important (I guess Gustave Dore
    is considered just as lame huh? Yea Dore didn't create "ink" art but you get my point). Upon hearing
    this I was shocked. I mentioned all the above which you cannot dismiss even if anatomy and rendering
    of form on a character are second rate. To no avail.

    Regardless, my only concern is if this is a trend elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised. Most great
    artists today have an awesome, ultra realistic style to their credit. This confounds the minds of
    most of us and I think we stay on that a little too much, but I think it's dangerous when it may
    get in the way of looking at, admire and study other elements of great picture-making whose
    mastery Roy Krenkel showed that he possessed so effortlessly. On the other hand maybe it's just
    my lack of skill at these qualities that cause his art to shout at me so much...

    All I can say is, I hope in my journey as an artist, I get to learn more from his work, and that
    more of him rubs off on me, because it's so great in my mind, that at present, I dare not even
    try to emulate it.

    End of rant.

    "Don't judge a book by it's cover" Frank Frazetta 1928-2010
    RIP Frank.

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