Recently, we here at Quarantine Studio had the opportunity to visit our first ever licensor, the Frank Frazetta museum. An invitation had been extended to us earlier this year to come up and take a look at some unpublished works to see if we could find a subject for another statue. We knew that we would see some amazing artwork but nothing could prepare us for what we actually experienced.
The museum is located in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, a new destination for us. It is a small town among beautiful wooded hills just an hour or so away from the very busy Newark, New Jersey. Traveling up the small road towards the museum, we had no idea what was in store, and the amazing works of art, waiting to be seen.
Breaking from the wood-covered road, a medieval-style building greeted us…Frank and Ellies’s museum. As we parked and waited to meet Frank Jr and his wife Lori, we peered out over the pond and saw instantly why Frank Sr loved this place so much. You are surrounded by the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with lush forests and rolling landscapes. The setting was magical and briefly took me back to my childhood, as I waited anxiously to open my gifts on Christmas morning. William said he thought we had just walked into the most peaceful place on Earth.
Frank and Lori greeted us with handshakes and a big hug. These two are unique and tell a story about who they are without ever saying a word. Faced with a what would have been a difficult choice for anyone, to enjoy the spoils of a vast inheritance or share their father’s gifts with the world, these two said it was no choice. They live to keep the Frank Frazetta Art Museum alive and well for everyone to enjoy just like Frank Sr and Ellie had dreamed. They don’t even charge admission to come and experience these magnificent works of art.
Entering the museum, we were instantly transported back in time when social media and video games didn’t exist. A time when you picked up a paperback or a comic book to read, or took out a record to listen to. Many people were drawn to these works, simply because the artwork displayed on their covers. Whether Conan the Barbarian, Molly Hatchet’s album, or creepy and eerie comics, Frank Frazetta’s work was stunning. He had the ability to transport you to whatever world his brushstrokes painted. One of Frank’s greatest gifts was his ability to trick the human eye into seeing something in his works that may not really be there. It all remains beautifully displayed in every painting hanging on the wall in his museum.
Inside you will also find items from Frank and Ellie’s home which is located next door to the museum. These items include handcrafted furniture and furnishings from all over the world. They even have Frank’s easel and chair from which he created his most famous masterpieces. Surrounding the easel and chair are small displays containing some of Frank’s personal items including books, personal notes, photos, and even model airplanes. William being the aviation nerd that he is noticed a couple small ballpoint pen sketches of airplanes in the display. He asked Frank Jr. if his father had been a military pilot or something that caused him to draw something that seemed so unlike what we knew of Frank Sr. He said no, he wasn’t but that in his younger days he lived near a Marine base and watched as the planes would make their daily practice flights overhead. He said that his father had gained an appreciation for the aircraft and learned to identify the various planes simply by the sounds of their engines.
Our tour guide for the evening was none other than Lori Frazetta, herself. She walked us through Frank’s love of drawing that started with some of his works as a small child and continued throughout his adult life. Making our way along the tour, Lori had to keep pulling us back to her as we attempted to take in everything around us at once. As she spoke of Frank you could tell that she truly loved this man and his family. As Lori gazed at Frank’s works that she has no doubt seen thousands of times before, you could see in her eyes a wonder and a loving respect for the talent of her father-in-law. Every painting, every illustration, and sketch had a story. From how Frank would sometimes wait until the last minute to work on a commission drinking pots of coffee with loads of sugar to help him stay awake to finish. To the fact that Frank even used flooring out of his own home as a canvas once to paint a masterpiece. Having been able to look through a keyhole-portion of the life of Frank Frazetta, I now have an even greater appreciation for all that he has done. As the tour ended, I was starved for more. I felt I could have spent days staring in awe and wonder at Frank’s work. In my view, Frank Frazetta stands as one of the greatest artists of all time.
Established in 2008, Quarantine Studio had the privilege of licensing as our first work Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer, with Frank Sr, Ellie, and Frank Jr. We will always be grateful to the Frazettas for taking a chance on a small, start-up company with their signature character. We are proud to help continue the Frazetta legacy with licensed works but more importantly, we are honored to call Frank Jr and Lori Frazetta our friends.