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Spotlight on David Palumbo

David Palumbo studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and his illustrations have appeared on book covers, album covers, collectible card games, magazines, comics, and advertising. He is the son of artist Julie Bell and stepson of artist Boris Vallejo. Some of his work can be seen at The Illustration of David Palumbo.

How did you get your start as a science fiction illustrator? What artists most influenced you?
I’ve been into science fiction since I was a little kid, so I feel like I was working toward it long before I knew what I was doing. The first illustration samples I ever did were SF-related and that was the direction I intended to push. I spent all my energy on new pieces for my portfolio and sending samples, promoting online, and going to shows like Comic-Con to pick up jobs.

The list of artists that influenced me along the way is loooong. Definitely, though, the ones who were most influential to me in terms of advice, direction, and getting a career started were Daniel Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, and of course my mom and stepdad who have always been a huge source of inspiration and support.

What’s more important – inspiration or perspiration? Is being an artist a higher calling, or a craft like any other?
I think being an ‘‘artist’’ is probably something that people are without intention and often without recognition. The compulsion to create, inspire, or influence is typically very personal. When you choose to make that your business as well, that’s where craft comes in. Certainly there’s a great deal of perspiration to the business of being a professional artist, but it’s important to remember now and again the inner drive and to not lose sight of that basic desire.

Why the focus on science fiction/fantasy?
Probably in some ways because it’s so visual. The possibilities that it presents are so vast, and it’s so much fun to explore and not be entirely bound by modern life and reality and physics. The thing is, genre painting isn’t the only type of work I do, but it definitely satisfies me in some ways that straight representational painting doesn’t.

Is there one work you’d particularly like our readers to see, either because it’s most representative, or because you’re especially proud of it?
It’s really hard for me to single out just one piece to represent all of them. I do feel that some of my most recent work has been pushing in new directions that I’m very excited about though. Probably I’d say it’s a tie between ‘‘The Loving Dead’’ and ‘‘Petrodor’’, both of which were recent works where I turned a bit of a corner.


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