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Jensen, Bruce

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1962-    ) US illustrator of whom Vincent Di Fate wrote in Infinite Worlds (1997): "Bruce Jensen's impeccably done illustrations in airbrush and acrylics are more conceptual than literal and are a refreshing departure from the highly narrative works that now dominate the SF paperback book racks." Like Richard Powers and Diane and Leo Dillon before him and John Picacio and Rick Berry more recently, Jensen has been influential in reminding publishers and public alike that cover art need not necessarily be straightforwardly Illustration.

Jensen graduated from the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art and Design in 1984. His first commercial commission was an Illustration advertising John Brunner's The Crucible of Time (1983) in a Science Fiction Book Club flyer. His first published cover, done for Tor Books, was for Skirmish (1985) by Melisa C Michaels. At that time he was working in the same forthright narrative style as (almost) everyone else. It was with a series of covers done for Bantam Spectra (see Bantam Books) from the early 1990s that Jensen, in those days working in acrylics and airbrush, began to make his mark with covers that, using surrealistic juxtapositions of elements, somehow seemed to encapsulate the spirit of Cyberpunk. This was no accident: he had been the artist on the abortive Graphic Novel adaptation of William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), of which just the first volume appeared, in 1989; it seems Jensen's art was not what the fledgling Cyberpunk audience sought at the time. It's clear, though, that publishers recognized his significant talent: his work has appeared on covers for many of the most important novels by some of sf's greatest luminaries. His more recent "Alien Menagerie" pieces display a different style again: a lightly wrought playfulness.

In 1995 Jensen received the Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist – oddly, in that by then he'd been working in the field a full decade. His art has featured in all of the first 15 volumes of Spectrum except #14, plus in #18.

Jensen's contributions to sf cover art have varied in frequency over the years, largely because he has had to balance his freelance art career with his television career. He worked for NBC 1985-1986, then after a long gap was art director and illustrator for the full seven-season run of CBS's Sunday news programme 60 Minutes II (1999-2005); he is currently a designer and animator for that show's parent, 60 Minutes. [JGr]

Bruce Jensen

born Indianapolis, Indiana: 24 September 1962



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