Artist Spotlight: Wayne Barlowe

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Monday, June 1st, 2015

Wayne Barlowe is a living legend in the world of science fiction and fantasy art. He fulfilled an impressive career history, crossing different media effortlessly.

In 1958, Barlowe apprenticed in the Exhibition Department of The American Museum of Natural History. During that time, Barlowe collaborated with his parents, Sy and Dorothea Barlowe on his first professional book assignment, The Instant Nature Guide to Insects. By 1979, his first self-generated book, Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, was published and also nominated for The American Book Award.

Since then, Barlowe’s work has been seen in Life, Time and Newsweek magazines, on trading cards, and through his own line of SF (Sci-Fi) toys, The Powerlords. In the nineties, he produced a science fiction and fantasy art book named Expedition. The book consisted of forty paintings, one hundred black and white illustrations and two hundred pages of text.

Today, he is one of Hollywood’s most sought after artists, creating work for films such as Avatar, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Hobbit and Pacific Rim. Barlowe has two daughters, Cayley and Hillary and was married to Laura Hansen Barlowe in 2013.

Born: January 6, 1958, Glen Cove, NY

Famous work: Expedition (1990)

Facts about Wayne Barlowe:

  • Wayne Barlowe is well known for his surreal alien paintings.
  • He has painted over 300 book and magazine cover illustrations for major publishers like Time, Life and Newsweek.
  • He has done creature and character designs for Galaxy Quest, Titan A.E., Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Avatar and Pacific Rim.
  • He also created concept art for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, John Carter of Mars, Dante’s Inferno and The Hobbit.
  • In 2004, his book Expedition was sold to the Discovery Channel for development into a two-hour presentation. It was retitled Alien Planet and premiered May 14, 2005.

Quote: “When I was a kid, like countless other art-oriented kids I’m sure, I was endlessly asked what drugs I took to come up with what I drew. I resented it. So, for anybody out there who cares, I am dependent on something to paint and write. It’s called Imagination.”

Wayne Barlowe illustration by Jen Kraft ’14