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David Mattingly
conducted by Toni Weisskopf
December 2004

TW: How did you get started illustrating SF? Any specific influences?

DM: When I was a kid, I thought I would go into comic books. In art school, my style began to emerge and I discovered I liked painting more than working in pen and ink. Science fiction and fantasy book covers called out to me because I am drawn to the fantastic elements and narrative drive. I have a big list of influences. Like practically every SF artist of my generation, my childhood hero was (and is!) Frank Frazetta. I also love Jim Steranko's work--his early "Nick Fury, Agent of Shield" comics inspired me to be an artist. Robert McCall's spacescapes are a continual source of inspiration. As for traditional "fine art" influences, I still find Jackson Pollock's work fascinating. Skipping around in history a bit, I'd also include Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, almost all the Pre-Raphaelites (especially Waterhouse), Claude Monet, August Rodin, Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Fillippo Lippi -- all the usual suspects! I also would like to mention a few contemporary artists in the cover business whose work I admire--Stephen Hickman, John Harris, Gary Ruddell, Fred Gambino, Tim White, Tom Kidd, Steve Youll, Michael Whelan, Darrell Sweet, and John Berkey.
TW: What are some of the best perks of being a science fiction artist?
DM: You get to work for yourself, and you get to read some great books before they come out. One of the thrills of doing David Weber's books is that I get to read them before anyone else!
TW: Do you have any favorites among your paintings?
DM: Orion by Ben Bova;Honor Among Enemies, by David Weber; Forever After by Roger Zelazny; Forge of the Titans by Steve White; Saint Joan and the Computer for Amazing Stories. [David's done a lot of wonderful covers for Baen, including the entire Honor Harrington series of novels, but I think my single favorite is the one for In Death Ground by David Weber and Steve White.-TW]
TW: What was the first sf story you ever read?
DM: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
TW: Who are some of your favorite non-sf authors?
DM: John Updike--the "Rabbit" series was a revelation to me. Charles Dickens-- everything he wrote is wonderful. I read a lot of history, so I would list some great biographers--William Manchester, Stephen Ambrose and Robert A. Caro.
TW: What invention or scientific leap in understanding would you most like to see made in your lifetime?
DM: Faster than light travel! It would be great to visit the next galaxy!
TW: If you could go back to one incident in all of history to watch as a spectator what would it be?
DM: Sit in the studio with the Beatles while they recorded Abbey Road.

For more information please go to: http://www.davidmattingly.com