Saturday, May 7, 2011

John Berkey

The other day, after I'd posted a piece of art by Vincent DiFate, several commenters spoke highly of John Berkey, whose artwork is in a similar style:
Ironically, Berkey also painted one of my favorite illustrations of a Star Wars space battle, which I recall vividly seeing the first time when I was a kid:
Berkey's art has a "fast," "blurry" quality to it -- no, those aren't quite the words I'm looking for -- that I really like. They suggest speed and movement and they perfectly suit the kind of wide-eyed SF I like these days.

14 comments:

  1. What I like about his art is that it seems to convey a dynamic speed without being blurry. In fact, everything seems almost hyper-detailed and frozen in time; while simultaneously seeming frenetic and fast-paced.

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  2. Oh man, I just realized I butchered his last name a bit in my comment there.

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  3. This is the stuff! (especially the top picture)

    (I suddenly have a desire to buy computer games from the 80s ....)

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  4. I've loved Berkey's art since I was a pretty young kid. I'm fortunate to own a couple of his paintings. His brushwork and colors are phenomenal. He's in class by himself, really.

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  6. Very welcome! John Berkey was a true giant in his field and luckily for us a prolific illustrator. He is of course well-known for his contribution to sci-fi art (many of which he did on his own for fun, they weren't all just commissions) but his other work is also very good, ranging from impressionistic nudes to Americana. There are two books about his art that I highly recommend, they are OOP and a bit pricey to obtain but if possible well worth it.

    His spaceships are just the best :)

    I wrote about John Berkey on one of my other blogs a bit back and if it is not overly gauche I should like to share the link with you all.

    http://businessofthefuture.blogspot.com/2009/10/artwork.html

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  7. I've never noticed the multiple Millineum Falcons in the second image!

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  8. Berkey's awesome, able to suggest so much motion and beauty with a stroke of the brush. Great stuff.

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  9. With all those Millennium Falcons, I wonder if the ship design was originally meant for something else?

    Great picture.

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  10. The multiple Falcons was the first thing I noticed as a kid. I assume Berkley was just given the designs without knowing the details of the plot.

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  11. I think the expanded universe specifies the Millennium Falcon's type as a YT-1300 Corellian Stock Light Freighter.

    At least that's how it's specified in the WEG Star Wars RPG. There are stats for both Millennium Falcon and the, well, Stock Freighter, so the players can start with the ship and improve it.

    It's also specified that there are a lot of similar small freighters with the same statistics and that the YT-1300 is just one example. My players used the Type S Scout for inspiration so they flew in the SW universe using a Traveller inspired ship.

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  12. Yep, Berkey rules all! I still have my "Our Universe" with his wonderfully evocative painting on the cover.

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  13. Berkey's art adorned a few dust jackets on my father's sci-fi collection, so I know it well. Great stuff! Whenever I see one of his pieces it immediately brings up classic Traveller in my mind's eye. The first illo above is very evocative of what I see as Traveller-like. I wonder if Keith's work is influenced by Berkey?

    word verification:"alimbono" - a lightly metallic lead singer for U2.

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