1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I hope all the questions aren't this hard.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I have twin girls, Eleanor and Isabel. Picking a favorite item is a lot like picking a favorite daughter. I can easily tell either child that I love her the most and it would be true. For those of you who have kids you know the seeming contradiction of that feeling. I think the love for one's children goes so far beyond anything measurable that it becomes like angels on a pin. Somehow they all stand there equally.
Obviously, the art I'm lucky enough to own isn't the same as my daughters, but the feeling strikes some of the same chords. They're all my favorites. I think the seeds of that attitude are in the way I bought the few pieces I have.
I buy what I like and rarely buy something to "complete a collection" or a list of artists. I don't have a flash Jack Kirby piece because I can't afford one that I really like; I like them all, but one that I really like. So there's a limitation on my collection, but all the pieces are there because at the time I bought them they were part of who I was. They're all still part of who I am, who I've become through the years.
I also need to add that everything I've bought has never been bought with "spare cash." I have an incredibly small income and budget for comic art. Everything I have was bought with all the cash (sometimes credit) I had at the time.
That said, I think Frank Frazetta is the end-all comic artist, and I have some of his drawings that I'm very proud to own. One of my girls is even named after Ellie but just the same, on an emotional level there's something about the George Evans EC story, "Wined Up" that strikes multiple chords and remains on the top of my list (along with Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel, Jeffrey Jones, Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, etc.).
I bought the item a long time ago, love the film noir aspect of it (the lead female always makes me think of Gloria Grahame). Interestingly, I have the Frazetta sketch from my featured page in my Bedroom, "my" Jack Davis EC story, "Graft In Concrete" used to hang in my dining room, I have nice Jeffrey Jones, Roy G. Krenkel, Kirby, Bill Stout, and Bernie Krigstein pieces in my studio, and throughout the house, but the Evans story has never hung. It sits in a portfolio beneath my work table.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I used to work as an artist, so there was always an attraction for the originals for me. But I have the stupid story of being at conventions way back in the 1960s and seeing stacks of art, so much original art that it never occurred to me to actually buy any at those $5 and $10 prices. The first piece I remember not buying was when Dan Adkins was advertising in the pages of comic books and sending him $10 or $20 dollars... and never getting the art. A similar thing happened with Kenneth Smith! I think a lot of that was the style back then, money sent, checks cashed, items never received, but maybe sent and lost.
Then in 1972, fresh out of high school, I took a bus to New York City from Northeastern Ohio, to attend the Phil Seuling convention at the old Commodore Hotel. I pigeon-holed Gil Kane, Jeff Jones, and others who were very gracious with their time, but even then I was so broke I had to get a $10 loan from Phil to buy my bus ticket back. Yes, I took a bus to NYC with no money for a hotel, or food, or my return trip--just to get to the convention. I remember wanting Jones' painting "The Black Rose" so much back then and it was only $250.
After college I moved to New York City, where my own cartooning career took a slide (I never had the drive) but I started working for other cartoonists and building a collection through them, mostly for free. It wasn't until Russ Cochran started the Bill Gaines original archive auctions (early 1980s?) that I had to make the step of committing real money to buy art.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
A lot is framed and hanging. A lot is framed and in storage shelves. Many are in the standard portfolios, acid-free wrapped, maybe in Itoya Portfolios, with instruction to throw the portfolios out the window if the house ever catches fire (there's enough stuff to put a down payment on a new place if necessary). Hundreds of items are in boxes, stacked behind other art.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
A Frazetta original; the Creepy Loathesome Lore piece recently showing up in CAF galleries would be an end-all to my Frazetta addiction I think. Or even a nice color prelim! Many years ago I first met Ellie when she nixed Frank selling me a painting for $3,000! Still, how could you not love her?
A great Kirby pencil.
One of those fantastic Jeffrey Jones wrap around cover paintings.
A Bill Stout Antarctic painting; I almost had a penguin one years ago- the problem with almost getting something as great as that, is that your standards change on for what you'll "settle." I love Bill Stout's work.
The fifth one? Right now I'd like to keep that option open.
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