Richard Bober

Richard grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and won a scholarship to the Pratt Institute in 1961, where – he proudly reports – he caused general havoc and aggravation to many Professors. Disdainful of the modern art establishment, he claims “I was a die-hard reactionary forced to study under a series of tenth rate DeKoonings and Jackson Pollack clones. . . booted out in 1966 after flunking gym, and holding the school record for cutting classes.” He later studied at the Art Students League with Lennart Anderson, 1969, and began a successful career in commercial art around the same time. He started as a freelance medical illustrator but soon turned to creating highly detailed, heavily embellished compositions in a romantic 19th century style that was superbly suited to mythological themes and literary fantasy. He claims as artistic influences “anything that predates Impressionism and nothing that comes afterward” and paints the old-fashioned way, using traditional techniques: multi-layers of oil paint and alkyd or acrylics glazes, on fine linen canvas or masonite, for visual effect and surface texture. Richard has produced cover art for most of the major paperback publishers, including Dell, Avon, Berkley, Bantam, Tor, and the New American Library (NAL) among others. A memorable early series were the “Hitchcock Presents” paperback reissue covers for Dell in the 1970s. In the 1980s to 1990s he painted covers for many mysteries and YA novels, some illustrative works for mainstream magazines, and created collector plate art for Franklin Mint and the Bradford Exchange. Some notable series of fantasy cover paintings include The Parsina Saga (Bantam), and Night of the Long Sun, along with other Gene Wolfe titles (Tor). Richard participated in the National Academy of Design 157th Annual Exhibition (1982), and won their Issac N. Maynard Prize for Portraiture and the Henry Ward Ranger Fund Purchase Award, so that his work is in their permanent collection. Other awards include the 15th Annual Chesley (2001), for Best Product illustration. His work has been shown at the Delaware Art Museum (1987) Canton Museum (Ohio, 1996), and the University of Maryland Art Gallery (2004) and he was one of six artists featured in Pat and Jeannie Wilshire’s Visions of Never collection of fantastic art (Vanguard, 2009). Since 1995 Richard has largely been retired from commercial assignments – in part to finally escape from the oppressive deadlines that inevitably interfered with his quest for artistic perfection. Unsurprisingly, he is also reclusive and a bit eccentric. But he’s still got his caustic wit, and enjoys painting for his own pleasure as well as taking private commissions, especially portraits of humans and animals.

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