Frank Frazetta's Self Portrait
The early sixties were a major transition period in Frazetta's career. After Frazetta left his long-time position as a ghost artist for Al Capp in early 1961, he searched for a new full-time opportunity. At this time in his life, he was supporting his wife and two sons, so he needed a job fairly quickly. Especially since he left Capp's due to a falling out over Capp refusing to increase his weekly salary. Even in this difficult time, the Frazettas were resilient. With his portfolio in hand, Frazetta went searching but no one would hire him. The art directors looked at his work and told him his style was outdated. Frazetta knew that wasn't true so he figured Capp had blacklisted him from the industry.
In early 1962, at the height of his frustration from rejection, Frazetta painted his Self Portrait. On his way home he ripped apart a random fence with his bare hands. Once he let off some steam, he returned home and painted his self portrait in just a few hours. Frazetta's wife, Ellie recalled that day, “He walked into the apartment, kissed me and immediately went into his small studio. A few hours later, the painting was finished.” Ellie continued. “Look closely at that painting, look at the mouth. You can see a slight smirk of self confidence as if Frank is saying to the world I don’t care what you think. I’m going to make it anyways.” Ellie was right, soon after, Frazetta's luck began to change, which we will discuss in the following blogs.
Frazetta's Self Portrait is one of the highest regarded paintings in his entire collection. It's unique in style, blending in a bit of abstract expressionism. The brushstrokes are explosive and indicative of his emotions. His piercing eyes and furrowing brows further cement the transfer of his anger and frustration onto the canvas. Frazetta's Self Portrait breathes, Frazetta lives on through it!