About the Richard Powers Art blog...

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.

John A Davis

Our Lady of Darkness

Our Lady of Darkness

Monday, May 25, 2015

Deathstar Immortal

Here is another example I came across where Powers went back to a previous painting and did a "paint over", changing the contrast and adding elements (abstract figures and flying gizmos), etc.

The original painting was done for the novel "Deathstar Voyage" by Ian Wallace (Book Club 1969).  Powers later altered this painting to create the cover for "This Immortal" by Roger Zelazny (Ace 1988).

Personally, I love the redo!  I have noticed a trend to his "paint-overs" whereby he routinely reduces the contrast of graphic elements, adding depth cues, and pushing the piece away from graphic illustration towards a more "fine art" approach.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust...

I found another example of a Powers
cover that no longer exists...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Powers was notorious for cutting up older paintings to create new ones.  Having looked at many examples, I begin to notice a pattern -- if a cover worked well on its own as a "painting" he would apparently keep it intact and try to sell it.  But if an illustration was too obviously composed as a cover illustration (i.e. all the interest is in the bottom third, obvious graphic elements to support text, etc.), it became fodder for future collage pieces.

Thus, poor "Beyond Infinity" got the axe (literally).