Friday, March 30, 2007
Frank Soltesz - Man or Superman?
If I told you about someone who could look down on the earth from a great height, who could see through walls with x-ray vision and observe the minute details of human and machine activities therein, someone whom we know nothing about -- a mysterious stranger -- you might think I was talking about Superman.
In fact, I'm talking about Frank Soltesz. Soltesz may have been a mere mortal, but certainly many of us would consider the artwork he did to be a superhuman feat of illustration.
Since there seems to be no biographical information anywhere on the artist the only clues about his career we can look to are what we've seen so far.
So was his area of illustration expertise a comfortable niche or a pigeon hole?
We really don't know. Aside from his impressive series of cutaways for Armstrong's Industrial Insulation, I've found very few examples of work by Soltesz. And what I have found, more often than not, is similar to those cutaways in style and perspective. Soltesz either chose to do mainly huge technical subjects seen from a great distance or clients chose him for his expertise with that sort of material.
Sometimes we choose the job... sometimes the job chooses us.
The only story illustration by the artist I've come across is this cover (above) for one of (Marvel Comics publisher) Martin Goodman's "men's sweat" magazines. Its existence at least reassures us that Frank Soltesz was as accomplished at dramatic close-ups of intense action as he was at far-off views of technical complexity.
The rest, at least for now, remains a mystery.
All of these images can be found at full size in my Frank Soltesz Flickr set.