Sunday, 28 August 2011

THE ART OF RICHARD POWERS


"Starting with his first appearance on ballantine's paperbacks in the 1950s, Richard Powers's career spanned over four decades in which he produced jacket illustrations for over 1,200 sf novels. Now widely regarded as the single most influential artist in the history of paperback illustrative art, he is also considered a figure of towering stature in american twentieth-century fine art. 
Richard Powers died in 1995. 
Illustrated throughout with over 120 of the artist's powerfully evocative and dreamlike paintings, this dramatic and colourful book reveals the full diversity of powers's distinctive art. 
Includes an inside look at his life by his son Richard Gid Powers, interviews with the innovative artist himself and a forward by Vincent Di Fate."
~
"More than any individual author, Richard Powers showed the public that science fiction could be written by intelligent adults for intelligent adults. His superior aesthetics, which still overshadow most rivals, were actually what started me reading modern sf - with Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, the cover for which perfectly captured the mood of that great American novel. I bought the book in Paris in 1957 because the cover looked cool. It didn't insult either my eye or my intelligence. So if it hadn't have been for powers, my romance with science fiction would have ended in my teens. I have huge admiration for him and am delighted that his talent is again on splendid display!"
-Michael Moorcock.


Back cover from the anthology Star Science Fiction Stories #1, 1953. 


Cover for the novel The Star Of Life by Edmund Hamilton, 1960.

Cover for Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s The Sirens Of Titan, 1990.

Interior illustration for Stardance II by Spider and Jeanne Robinson,
as featured in Analog, September 1978.

Interior illustration for Stardance II by Spider and Jeanne Robinson,
as featured in Analog, September 1978.

I've owned this book for years now but somehow neglected it throughout the existence of this blog until now. Of all the books with SF art as subject matter, The Art Of Richard Powers is one of the best and easiest to obtain with copies going for £3 - £10 used and new on both eBay and Amazon. Published in 2001 by Paper Tiger the book is crammed with full-colour illustrations, interviews and biographical essays - one of my favourite aspects of the book is a complete check-list of novels with publisher and publication data for every book that Powers worked on.
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