(1945- ) US sf illustrator whose surname has sometimes been rendered DiFate by careless publishers. Born in Yonkers, New York, like many other sf illustrators he attended the Phoenix School of Design in New York City; he gained his Masters in Illustration from Syracuse University. He began his career doing tv animation for Ralph Bakshi on the series Mighty Mouse; his first professional sf illustration was for Analog (August 1969), for which most of his magazine work has been. He has illustrated many paperback book covers. Books for which he has supplied interior illustrations include several for Easton Press, such as editions of Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man (1986), Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead (1990). His artwork, surprisingly impressionistic for someone who frequently works with spacecraft and other hardware, is often moody and sombre. He was one of the NASA artists for the Apollo/Soyuz programme in 1975, and in 1985 NASA commissioned from him the official painting of the International Space Station, then still under construction. He has had solo exhibitions at the Reading Museum (Pennsylvania), the Museum of Science and Natural History (St. Louis, Missouri) and the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium (New York City). He has consulted for MCA/Universal, 20th Century-Fox, and MGM/United Artists.
Di Fate has been nominated numerous times for the Hugo for Best Professional Artist, winning that award in 1979. Among other recognitions have been the Frank R Paul Award in 1978, the Skylark Award in 1987, the Lensman Award (for Lifetime Contribution to the Science Fiction Field) in 1990, and the Chesley Award for Artistic Achievement in 1998. He lectures on art and is also well known for his long-running occasional column about sf illustration, Sketches, from 1976 in the semiprozine Algol and later in its sister magazine Science Fiction Chronicle. He was a cofounder of ASFA and served as its first President. He has served two terms (1995-1997) as President of the Society of Illustrators and chaired the Permanent Collection Committee for the Museum of American Illustration 1985-1995; since 1993 he has been a member of the Illustration Committee for the Sanford Low Collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art. In 2011 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
His highly illustrated nonfiction work Infinite Worlds (1997) combines an expert, albeit brief, history of sf art with an extensive artist-by-artist gallery of representative works; the sole criticism one might have of the book is its paucity of coverage of non-US artists. Books of his own work are Di Fate's Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware (graph 1980), done with Ian Summers, and The Science Fiction Art of Vincent Di Fate (graph 2002). He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. [JG/PN/JGr]
Vincent Di Fate
born Yonkers, New York: 21 November 1945
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