I have been a fan of the art of Richard Powers before I ever knew the man's name. Growing up reading SF as a child, I marveled at the abstract surreal images from many of the paperback covers from the 50's and 60's. But it was not until many years later in 2000 that I encountered The Art of Richard Powers by Jane Frank and discovered the name behind the art I had loved -- Richard Powers.
Powers led a double life. He was not only one of the most prolific commercial artists of his day, but he was also a prolific fine artist who maintained an annual solo show at the Rehn Gallery in NY (among others) for three decades. It is interesting to note that there was often very little difference between his fine art abstract paintings and his commercial art book covers -- quite a feat!
He worked in many styles and media, and experimented endlessly. Although he could easily paint "realism", he favored (and was more challenged by) abstraction. For me personally, his art "scratches many itches". I love abstract surrealism, and I love SF. Powers art brought these two together in a brilliant way. Additionally, there is a wonderful sense of nostalgia to many of his images, invoking the art styles of their times. But above all, Powers work simply captivates me!
My goal for this blog is to provide a hub for sharing information about Richard Powers and his art, as well as interesting observations about his process. I hope you enjoy.
It is hard to illustrate SF book covers without creating more than a few spaceships over the years, and Powers certainly did. Although his early illustrations were more traditional "pointy rockets", they soon transmogrified into a plethora of abstract shapes and uncanny flying forms. But even his early pointy rockets (with requisite tail fins) were distinctly his own -- strangely asymmetric and often minimally graphic. Later, his space vehicle designs became limbless abstract bodies ("corpus" ships), biomorphic starships, or simply modern surrealist sculptures with rocket engines attached! I had fun stitching together an assortment of Powers ships for comparison, although this is by no means all of the MANY strange spacecraft he created...