Wednesday, September 20, 2017

R.I.P. Basil Gogos

I was saddened to hear of the death of painter/illustrator Basil Gogos last week, who died at the age of seventy eight.

His name may not be familiar to you, but if you're a fan of old school monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman, you'll definitely recognize his work. His amazing and garishly colored illustrations graced many a cover of Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine during the 1960s and 1970s.

Gogos was born in Egypt (even though he was Greek) in 1939. His family moved to America when he was sixteen, and he attended several New York City art schools.

In the early 1960s Gogos began illustrating lurid covers for various men's magazines, which usually featured scenes of WWII battles and Nazis menacing scantily-clad women.

Eventually Gogos began working for Warren Publishing, and that's when his career really took off. Warren was the publisher of Famous Monsters magazine, and Gogos painted over fifty covers for them over the years.

Gogos' illustrations of classic monsters were quite striking, often utilizing bizarre and unnatural colors. The results were bizarre and gaudy, but somehow it worked!

Gogos left Warren in the late 1970s, devoting his time to fine art (yawn), photo retouching (bigger yawn) and advertising (huge yawn). 

In the meantime, his original iconic monster portraits became highly sought after, prompting him to return to the world of illustrating (yay!). In the 1990s he began painting new monster images for magazines, cards and CD covers.

In 2006 his work was collected in a highly recommended coffee table book called Famous Monster Movie Art Of Basil Gogos. I'd urge you to run over to Amazon and buy a copy, but it's apparently out of print and currently selling for hundreds of dollars. Hopefully with the advent of his death they'll put out another printing soon.

Enjoy this sampling of Basil Gogos monster art!

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