It's 2018, 46 years on from 1972—which was when Jim Burns got his first professional commission as a science fiction artist. A collection of short stories called ‘Towards Infinity’..the artwork created through the very noncommercial media of pencil drawing and light watercolour washes—12 quid that one paid!
Preceding this first job, and the four years at art college, was an earlier career move Jim made as a would-be pilot in the Royal Air Force—which came to nought as, despite soloing on jets, he was actually not a very good pilot.
Sleep more soundly everyone, this fellow is not in the skies above you anymore. The desire to become some sort of real-life incarnation of his childhood hero, Dan Dare, was not to be...although Dan Dare’s artist creator, Frank Hampson, perhaps took the place of his comic hero in Jim’s perceptions and mind—inspiring a retro look in his work, in particular his hardware, that is distinctly Hampsonian.
Yes, Jim Burns was better at art than hurling ironmongery around the skies of England and, in these 46 years since, has managed to carve a name for himself and make a living from his efforts on board, canvas, and Mac screen. Sufficiently acknowledged within this rarefied domain, the artist has garnered unto himself three Hugo awards and a dozen BSFA awards. Currently, he is working on more personal paintings, amongst the occasional commission. Look out for new and darker material in years to come!
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