Tuesday, January 17, 2012

100th Post: Frazetta, Memory, And Memoirs

Well, we have reached a little milestone with the 100th posting. I thought that a few comments are in order concerning my approach and philosophy in producing this site.

I think it is very important for people to share their experiences directly in the form of memoirs. This is the way to preserve cultural traditions and important knowledge for future generations. Anything that augments understanding and adds to the appreciation of a significant creative life is important. I have been gathering these stories for years from many sources. Of course, history should never be written by just one person. I do not have absolute knowledge about Frazetta. I never claimed to know everything. I am just sharing what I do know. Frazetta, as everyone knows, often changed his mind and answered questions with different facts. I always gave more weight to what Frank told me before his strokes. His mind was clearer and his answers were more consistent. There is much more I wished I did know, questions I wished I had asked. My knowledge of Frank's early school life and art education is very weak. I am thankful for all the stories published by Russ Cochran, Nick Meglin, Roy Krenkel, Al Williamson, Neal Adams, Arnie Fenner, and others. In particular I would highly reccomend the Frazetta tribute that Arnie Fenner added to the latest SPECTRUM volume (#19). He addresses the issue of Frank's proper consideration and he shines a light into all those dark, closeted issues that need to be brought into the light. Arnie knows, as any right thinking reader knows, a good biography must be honest and look at all aspects of a life, both good and bad. Look at the current biography of Steve Jobs. It contains a blend of all the great things he accomplished, and the darker sides of his life and personality. It provides us with a complete picture without prejudice or propaganda. Other artists' biographies are equally candid in their portrayal of the artist's life. Look at the brutal elements in the life of N.C. Wyeth who allegedly had an affair with his daughter-in-law and fathered his own grandson. Anything less than total candor is a waste of time. A biography needs direct veracity, not pie-in-the-sky fairytales. My earlier web site was hacked into and shut down because I dared to post a trilogy of essays that began to deal with the raw and unvarnished truthful elements surrounding Frank's life, e.g. the truth behind the museums, the truth behind the myth of Ellie Frazetta, etc. Some people did not want to hear it. They preferred to wallow in self-serving constructed myths and carefully contrived phoniness. The internet cowards and haters will always be there. Fine...let them write their own stories. The truths will emerge; it is just a matter of time. When all is known it will only enhance Frazetta's reputation. I am certain of that.

Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a process that will guarantee him a place in art history's pantheon. I didn't ask for this job, but fate has a way of handing out certain responsibilities. I was placed in a unique position to share life with Frazetta at a very deep level. Our friendship transcended the realm of art and extended into many more dimensions. We incessantly talked about everything and shared experiences and thoughts continuously over the period of 25 years. I am less interested in the plain biographical facts of his life, e.g. the dates, the relatives, the timeline of his career. I leave that for others. I am interested in presenting the essence of the man himself, what makes him tick, what makes him so special and unique. Frank wanted his memory and life shared in an accurate way. He was very afraid that incorrect things would be said. He hated some of the things Ellie was saying at the museum. It bothered him deeply. If enough untruths are repeated over and over, people have a tendency to consider them as the absolute truth. Frank gave me free access to his mind and soul; he was honest with me. Loyalty was always a big thing for Frank. If Frank detected any disloyalty, then that person would be cut out of his life, period, no chance at redemption. Frank was loyal to me and I to him. That is why I am presenting these little essays...to provide a window into the authentic Frazetta and the life he lived. Frank, the man, cannot be understood without understanding the family dynamics, and the complex relationship he had with Ellie. The last 30 years of Frank's life were pivotal to his career. His life became increasingly more complex and difficult. His extreme medical problems transformed him and everyone around him.

These are my direct experiences. There is nothing to disagree with here. If someone else has a different perspective on Frank or Ellie, then by all means, write your story down and let history judge its' truth. I was there. I saw all this family joy and extreme family pain, and recorded it as best as I could. A lot of it is painful to read for many people. However, it is the truth. Great men's lives often embrace great contradictions. Frank was no different. In addition to his staggering artistic successes, his life was also full of contradiction and failure. Often, his neglect of critical family issues planted the seeds for disasters to come. I admired Frank; I loved him as a dear, dear friend; and I felt a profound pity for him. This is simply a record of my thoughts and experiences and reflections. My hope is that others will continue to build on these ideas and facts. The Frazetta story continues to evolve and grow and influence.

I added a recent portrait of myself to this essay. I'm smiling. I smile a lot. I have good reason to smile. I'm sitting on a mountain of golden memories and surrounded by fantastic examples of Frazetta's art. Life is very good, indeed!

A big "thank you" to all the readers of this site who share my passion for Frazetta. I don't know how long I can keep this going, but for now, it is a lot of fun to keep Frank's memory alive in some tangible way.

(c) 2012 DocDave Winiewicz

Posted by docdave at 3:56 PM
Scott Williams said...
These posting are of profound value and importance Dave. Thanks for being there amid the good times and the ruin and the pain and giving us an insight to the life of the Frazetta name.


February 21, 2011 9:54 AM
docdave said...
Thanks again Scott. I feel a duty and a responsibility to Frank's memory to get these things said. Frank wanted it that way. We all loved the guy so much!


February 21, 2011 10:29 AM