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Boris Vallejo, April 2005.
January 8, 1941 |
Boris Vallejo (born January 8, 1941) is a Peruvian painter. He immigrated to the United States in 1964, and he currently resides in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He frequently works with Julie Bell, his wife, painter, and model.
Vallejo works almost exclusively in the fantasy and erotica genres. His hyper-representational paintings have graced the covers of dozens of science fiction paperbacks and are featured in a series of best-selling glossy calendars. Subjects of his paintings are typically Sword and sorcery gods, monsters, and well-muscled male and female barbarians engaged in battle. Some of his male figures were modeled by Vallejo himself, and many of his later female characters were modeled by his wife. His latest works still retain heavy fantasy elements, but lean more towards the erotic rather than pure fantasy themes.
Vallejo began painting at the age of 13, in 1954, and had his first illustration job three years later, in 1957, at the age of 16. He attended the Escuela National de Bellas Artes on a five-year scholarship, and was awarded a prize medal. After emigrating to the United States in 1964, at the age of 23, he quickly garnered a fan following from his illustrations of Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage and various other fantasy characters (often done for paperback fiction works featuring the characters). This led to commissions for movie poster illustration, advertisement illustration, and artwork for various collectibles - including Franklin Mint paraphernalia, trading cards, and sculpture. Along with Bell, Vallejo presents his artwork in an annual calendar and various books. Vallejo's work is often compared to the work of Frank Frazetta, not only because it is similar stylistically, but also since Frazetta painted covers for paperbacks of some of the same characters.
Vallejo's preferred artistic medium is oil paint on board, and has previously used digital media to combine discrete images to form composite images. Preparatory works are pencil or ink sketches, which have been displayed in the book Sketchbook. He and Julie Bell have worked on collaborative artworks together, in which they sign the artwork with both names.
Vallejo has created film posters for numerous fantasy and action productions, including Knightriders (1981), Q (1982), and Barbarian Queen (1985). He has also illustrated posters for comedies, notably National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), European Vacation (1985), and Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007), co-created with Bell. He created the 1978 Tarzan calendar.
Vallejo is married to fellow artist Julie Bell, whose artistic style is very similar to Vallejo's. He has two children from a previous marriage to artist and writer Doris Vallejo as well as two stepsons. His son, Dorian Vallejo, also has produced work in the fantasy genre but now works primarily as a portrait painter. His daughter, Maya Vallejo, is a professional photographer. His stepsons, Anthony Palumbo and David Palumbo, are both painters for fine art galleries as well as illustrators in the science fiction/fantasy genre.
Several books of collections of his works are available, such as:
- Imaginistix (2006)
- The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell (2006)
- Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell: The Ultimate Collection (2005)
- Twin Visions (2002)
- Titans (aka Superheroes): The Heroic Visions of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
- Fantasy Workshop
- Dreams: The Art of Boris Vallejo (1999)
- Fantasy Art Techniques (1985)
- Mirage (1982, reprinted 1996 & 2001)
- The Fantastic Art of Boris Vallejo (1980)
A yearly calendar of 13 paintings by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell is produced by Workman Publishing.
- Official website
- Boris Vallejo Art Video on YouTube
- Boris Vallejo at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Boris Vallejo gallery on Inside Your Art