Recognized as the most prolific and popular Science Fiction artist worldwide in the last half of the 20th century, FRANK KELLY FREAS illustrated stories by some of Science Fiction's greatest writers: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt, Poul Anderson, and Frederik Pohl, to name a few. Nominated an unprecedented twenty two times, Freas was the first to receive eleven Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction "Oscars") for achievement in the field as Best Professional Artist.
His work for Weird Tales, Planet Stories and other pulp magazines remain recognizable images even today. Freas' long association with John W. Campbell and Astounding/Analog began with this poignant and powerful cover in 1953 entitled "Robot". He was still painting covers for Analog as recently as 2003. 50 years is an incredible tenure in any occupation, let alone with one client.
It's easy to provide a litany of talents that Freas brings to his art, but besides his consummate abilities to design and render, his obvious love for the genre and his attention to detail - besides all that - are his sense of humor and his skill at depicting individuals in his art. Both of these made his work stand out from the new wave of science fiction artists who were populating the new digest sized magazines and the paperback racks of the 1950's.
In the course of his remarkable career his endeavors covered many areas, including an extensive body of work for MAD magazine. He continued to work for MAD from 1955 to 2005 doing book and magazine covers. An official NASA mission artist -- his space posters hang in the Smithsonian. He was even commissioned by the Skylab I astronauts to design their crew patch for the first United States manned space station.
You can find his art on record and CD albums (for instance his cover for Queen's first two million sale: News of the World, or on the cover of DC Comics' 1992 STAR TREK ANNUAL. He painted beautiful women on the noses of World War II bombers, as well as portraits of five hundred saints for the Franciscans. He's also been commissioned to create biomedical art. Author and illustrator of the books The Astounding Fifties, Frank Kelly Freas: The art of Science Fiction, A Separate Star, and As He Sees It as well as a number of magazine articles.
Kelly Freas passed away January 2, 2005.