on 25 April 2006
Growing up in the 80's was fab for me. I saw and experienced the beginning of the home computer boom. From 1983 when I was only 12 and just starting secondary school to present day I have been a massive games player and am now heavily into the "retro scene". Every month I would anxiously wait on the next edition of Crash! and then when I changed my allegiances, ZZapp64 and every month I remember gawping at the amazing cover artwork produced by the now legendary Oliver Frey. I was also into art and could only dream of being THAT GOOD. This book is gorgeous! Nothing short of that. To see Oliver's paintings, devoid of the garish clutter that adorned the magazines is breathtaking and a massive trip down memory lane. I also enjoyed seeing many unfamiliar paintings and have literally spent hours going through it (and boring my wife with memories of the 80's while pointing at a picture in the book - lol). If you are a fan of Oliver's - this book is a must. If you are into the retro scene - this book is a must. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
on 26 April 2006
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s and played videogames would undoubtedly have been aware of Oliver Frey's artwork, which graced classic games magazines, such as Crash and Zzap!64. His sumptuous airbrush illustrations were a massive differentiator for Newsfield's magazines, and many people used to cut out and frame his work, such was its quality.
Although magazine covers fade, memories are harder to shake, and so this book has been created, celebrating the life and work of Frey. From his early work with Fleetway to his time at Newsfield, dozens of pieces of artwork are presented in all their glory, without coverlines and logos (although a small gallery of the magazine covers is also included at the end of the book, for comparison's sake).
Kean's writing is succinct, but insightful, providing a glimpse into Frey's working methods, and charting his history. It's the art that shines, though, and anyone who fondly remembers Frey's art should pick up a copy of this book immediately.
on 6 November 2009
A very nicely produced art book, which tells a great story. Unlike many artbooks, this one has a very detailed and well researched bio, which is entertaining to read.
All of Frey's major paintings - and many not so well known pieces are included, with large full page images for most. At the end, there is even a helpful section of thumbnail images showing the paintings as they appeared on the various magazine covers.
If you are interested in the UK video games and computer industry in the 80's and 90's, then this is a great buy.
on 11 March 2012
I had known of Oliver Frey's artwork in two ways, through Crash magazine, the computer gaming mag for the ZX Spectrum user and The Trigan Empire. Sadly, while Don Lawrences Trigan work has been reprinted, none of the subsequent artwork has, including Olivers which is a very nice style.
This book comes printed in really nice quality paper and is stuffed full of content. There's small commentary on most of the pictures, though some areas are a bit more detailed. The artwork, much of which is covers from Zzap 64, Crash and Amtixx are reproduced beautifully, and without all the cover adornments like the magazine logo and feature titles.
It's not just covers though, there are parts of the strip "The Terminal Man", which featured in Crash and Zzap, this strip has been reproduced on the net with the authors blessing. There are also images from publications like a stunning 2 page spread showing 19th Century Africa highlighting the Victoria Falls.
In short, if you like your artwork, this book is well worth the price.
As an artist myself (who has published work under the pseudonym BML) I was saddened to see how Roger Kean, who was very influential in the gay publishing market of the seventies, was rather dismissive of Oliver Frey's erotic artwork during the same period. He comments that the book is not the place to describe his artwork of this period though he does mention posters created for the London nightclub, Heaven, and it's Cellar Bar, a popular haunt for leather-clad men. Personally, I was influenced by the artwork of Tom of Finland, Mark and Oliver Frey and owe them a great debt in my study of the male form in pose and connection.
Oliver Frey illustrated for Him gay magazine primarily during the seventies as well as spin-off gay magazines like Man To Man, where he illustrated erotic comic strips and Him Gay Library (published by Street Level Limited) in the eighties. Possibly the most famous character Oliver Frey is associated with is Rogue, whose erotic adventures appeared in Gay Monthly and were collected, in part, in one volume in 1981 entitled Rogue - The Collected Stories (occasionally available through sellers on Amazon). With so many inoffensive illustrations available throughout this important period of Oliver Frey's career, I am sure Roger Kean could easily have included some artwork to use as perspective against his later pieces for Crash magazine. As a matter of interest, some of Oliver Frey's erotic comic strips have been collected and will be published in a 96-page paperback volume later in 2010 as Bike Boy by Zack and published by Bruno Gmunder Verlag GmbH.
With all this gripe aside, Roger Kean's book on Oliver Frey's artwork is extremely well presented and makes interesting reading. It is divided up into sections and the boyish illustrations reflect back to earlier artwork. Produced as a large, glossy page format, I recommend this book to anyone who is familiar with Oliver Frey, anyone who appreciated the artwork of the seventies/eighties, or just anyone who appreciates fine art.