Robert Aragon (The Comic-Con Experience 2008 #4)
One of the many constants on the Exhibition Floor is Artists' Alley, a section dedicated to independent artists. Offerings in this section are mostly comic-book related, but can range from the beautiful to the bizarre. It is in this section of the exhibit floor where we find our Comic-Con Experience 2008 #4, artist Robert Aragon.
While many artists in Artists' Alley have horror-themed offerings, Aragon's pieces are one-of-a-kind tributes to classic horror films, with a particular emphasis on Universal and Hammer. Aragon licenses the likeness of many of his subjects from the actor's estates, including those of Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, and his art accurately and artistically captures the spirit and images of the old films. You'll find no grotesque, trendily warped images of Dracula or the Mummy here, no modern gothic influences. After all, Boris Karloff's Frankenstein's Monster needs no embellishment.
One print in particular caught this editor's eye - an 18”x24”, full-color print of Bela Lugosi as Dracula. I find this print, in particular, enthralling because it is easily recognizable as Lugosi's vampire lord, and yet the colors are so vibrant. Depictions of early monster films are easy to do in black-and-white, which is how they were originally presented on screen. But Aragon's fantastic Dracula is awash with color -- bright reds, deep blues, glowing yellows, and yet not once does it descend into gaudy. The print is classy, replicating the feel and detail of the original film while adding another dimension to it. It was a wonderful find, and, of course, will be gracing the walls here at Classic-Horror headquarters.
In addition to the artwork, there's also the artist. Aragon has been “in the business” for fifteen years, and much of his artwork comes with a story. Flipping through the portfolio of prints available, the Classic-Horror staff came across a simple ink drawing of Vincent Price against a Gothic mansion. As we marveled at the detail, we also marveled at Argon's story of his association with the actor and his experiences with him. Apparently, in 1991, Aragon noticed that Price was being neglected as a horror icon, and, after being stonewalled by the major studios, collaborated with Price himself to create a t-shirt using the image described above. This was Aragon's first ink drawing, and Price adored the image. The project, however, never came to fruition, since Coral, Price's wife, fell ill and died shortly after the drawing was created. The image, beautiful in its simplicity, is available as an art print, a paper testament to Aragon and Price's friendship.
Robert Aragon can be found at his official websites RobertAragon.com and AragonArtStudio.com, as well as his MySpace page.