Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vincent Di Fate

Vincent Di Fate Self-portrait
Almost two years ago I wrote regarding "the end of time." Well, so far we've been lucky. However, the trite expression, "All good things must come to an end," still seems to generally hold true. The key figure in my earlier discourse was the artist, Vincent Di Fate, and his London gallery composite show on the topic. However, there's much more to Di Fate's art than doom and gloom. It's ironic that an artist concerned with the end of time actually devotes most of his time to painting the future. Vincent Di Fate is one of America's premier science fiction artists. Whether you're a devotee of sci-fi art or not, you've probably encountered his illustrations on the covers of dozens of science-fiction paperbacks over the past four or five decades on bookstore shelves.
Di Fate's book covers alone trace his development as an artist.
Actually, Di Fate has written three books himself (above), not science fiction but non-fiction, one on science fiction itself (Infinite Worlds) a second called Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware, and one on Science Fiction Art (his own). Coming from an artist of his caliber and long experience, all three are subjects he knows well. In a time when science fiction very readily turns into science fact, Di Fate's visions have held up well over the years. His 1970s space stations don't look exactly like the 21st century conglomerations now in orbit, but they bear more than a passing resemblance, and any major differences will likely be rectified by time. Drawing the future, like writing about it, not only takes time but is literally all about time. How much time, of course, depends upon time's ever-present partner, money.
Star Search, 1984,
cover by Vincent Di Fate
Vincent Di Fate and I share more than just an active interest in art and in the future (though I've only painted one "spacey" painting in my whole life, a depiction of U.S. astronauts on the moon). We share the same year of our birth--1945. Thus our working careers have corresponded almost exactly. From there any similarities fade. He's written three times as many books as I have, earned during his lifetime far more awards (and rewards), and he's much more famous. He's also a better artists, but we won't dwell on that. If one were to describe Vincent Di Fate's work in a single word it would be "fantastic." That's true, given the word's traditional meaning, but also in describing his content. Science Fiction is, after all, fantasy art, from which the word derives. Fantasies involve people. It's pretty hard to write science fiction without people (human or otherwise). And though Di Fate's interest and expertise in sci-fi hardware often dominates his work, his figures may be even more fantastic than their rockets and robots. Though doomsday scenarios sometimes raise their ugly heads in science fiction, Di Fate's art is overwhelming futuristic, and thus optimistic, despite the "end of the world" fears writers occasionally thrust upon him. Optimism--that's another thing he and I share.

Like myself, Vincent Di Fate has tried his hand at lunar art, though he apparently got
around to it before I did...or before the astronauts even landed--depicting the moment science fiction became science fact.

No comments:

Post a Comment