Boris Vallejo is a personal favorite of mine and the Illustrators Journal. A lot of our readership and followers are fans as well so I am reposting this interview by Richard Vasseur/Jazma Online for all opf our enjoyment.
Vallejo is truly a unique talent with a smooth, luxurious painting style that is the perfect compliment to his subject matter. To me the style reflects the era we live in smooth, slick, over-the-top rendering of muscles and female forms. The promotion of which is intrinsic to the subject matter itself. He, along with Frazetta are the modern godfathers of fantasy art and we are lucky that he and his wife and partner sat down to discuss a little about themselves with Mr. Vasseur.
Richard: How did you first start oil painting and drawing?
Boris Vallejo: When I was thirteen years old my father got me a set of brushes and oil paints. I made my own canvas and had my first painting experience. Drawing was there ever since I remember.
Richard: Do you have any professional training?
Boris: I started art school at thirteen and studied for four years, although I did not graduate since I did not care for the academic subjects such as art history, perspective and so on. Later on I realized the importance of these things and read about them on my own.
Richard: Do you have a preference of drawing fantasy or super heroes?
Boris: I am primarily a fantasy artist.
Richard: How did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
Boris: When I decided that medical school was not for me.
Richard: Did you ever expect to become as famous as you have?
Boris: I try not to think about it at all. I don’t consider myself famous.
Richard: What about your art captures a person’s attention?
Boris: I guess that you would have to ask that question to somebody else as I cannot be objective about my own work.
Richard: You have designed more than 300 covers but would you like to or have you done a complete comic?
Boris: As I said I am a fantasy illustrator. I am not suited for comic book drawing although I love comics.
Richard: How did you first meet Julie Bell?
Boris: She was a competitive bodybuilder and she came to model for me.
Richard: You use erotica in your pictures as well as imagination where does your inspiration for these come from?
Boris: It is part of my nature. I paint what I feel. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I don’t look for it, it comes to me.
Richard: Which painters do you admire most?
Boris: Every artist is a source of inspiration. Some more than others. I cannot mention just a few.
Richard: How do you feel having so many people looking at your art every day?
Boris: It is great! I am grateful that I can make a living doing what I would love to do and I owe it all to the people that enjoy and support our art.
Richard: What advice do you have for new artists?
Boris: Work hard, be patient and don’t get discouraged. It takes time to get there.
Richard: How can someone contact you?
Boris: Our website is www.borisjulie.com
Richard: Do you have any final words for admireres of your work?
Boris: Thank you for being there!!!
Richard: Lilandra is one of your most famous artworks how did you end up creating it?
Julie Bell: The people at Marvel Comics commissioned me to paint Lilandra as part of an X-Men trading card set. I think they liked the way that I portrayed strong women and also the way I painted metal. Lilandra has both.
Richard: Why did you decide to get into illustrating?
Julie: Because it is a total blast and I love it!!
Richard: Do you think you will ever fully retire from work someday?
Julie: Definitely not. I couldn’t even think of it. Painting is more than just a job–it’s part of who I am as a human being.
Richard: What do you find most satisfying about finishing a piece of artwork?
Julie: I really enjoy looking at a newly finished painting for a little while and then I get very excited to start the next one.
Richard: Would you like to draw a complete comic or have you?
Julie: When I was a kid I drew comics for my friends. I think that’s as far as it will go. Comic art is such a specialized field and it takes many years to perfect, so I just keep painting and enjoy the comic art of other artists.
Richard: You have drawn a number of super heroes do you have a favorite hero you have drawn?
Julie: They were all really fun to work on. I’m trying to think of a favorite, but there are so many and their super powers all present different challenges to paint.
Richard: What is the “metal flesh” technique?
Julie: It is a name that was attached to my way of painting shiny metal. Often people think that I use special paints or airbrush to do it, but it’s just the same old oil paint and sable brushes that I use for everything else.
Richard: How much of an influence has your husband Boris Vallejo been on your art style?
Julie: A great, great influence. He is a very special man and his art reaches people all over the world at a profoundly deep level. He is the one who helped me bring my work up to the professional level at the beginning of my career and he continues to inspire me every day.
Richard: When you modeled for Boris were you at all selfconscious?
Julie: Of course! It was the first time I had modeled for an artist.
Richard: How was Imaginistix created and what is it?
Julie: It is the joining of Boris’ and my artistic talent. We started doing paintings together and really enjoyed both the process and the outcome.
Richard: What is the most important thing in your life?
Richard: What about body building did you enjoy and why did you stop doing it?
Julie: I enjoy most forms of exercise and movement just because I love the feeling of it. I haven’t stopped doing bodybuilding, I simply don’t compete anymore. The competitions take a very hard toll on the body and I had my fill of it. It was great fun to compete and it was a wonderful learning experience.
Richard: Any last words of advice?
Julie: Enjoy your life and be respectful of yourself and everyone around you!