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Palumbo, David

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1982-    ) American artist, son of artist Julie Bell and sf scholar Donald E Palumbo, and brother of artist Anthony Palumbo. He received formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 2000 to 2004 and was informally mentored by his mother and his stepfather Boris Vallejo. He then became active in a number of areas, including exhibitions of his fine art, advertising, gaming art, and Comics, earning special recognition for his regular contributions to Heavy Metal magazine. He has also painted some CD covers, most prominently Meat Loaf's Hang Cool Teddy Bear (2010), a surrealistic image of a shining woman in sunglasses hovering over a skeleton in a trashed-out Hollywood.

Within the sf field, however, Palumbo is probably best known for his book covers, mostly for Night Shade Books and other Small Presses. On a few occasions, his art will recall the style of his mother, as in his cover for Tim Pratt's anthology Sympathy for the Devil (anth 2010), showing a bare-chested man with wings surrounded by demons. More frequently, however, he appears eager to establish his own identity by eschewing scantily clad warriors and seductresses to instead offer sombre portraits of fully clothed men and women, sometimes accompanied by unusual animals, like his striking painting of a hard-boiled detective surrounded by a lion, unicorn, dragon, and eagle for the cover of Mike Resnick's Stalking the Dragon: A Fable of Tonight (2009). Another cover, for Kameron Hurley's God's War (2011), foregrounds a gun-wielding woman who seems designed to demonstrate that women can be sexy even if they keep their clothes on. Both of the preceding covers earned Chesley Award nominations, and the latter cover won a Spectrum Award, indicating that Palumbo's talents are already being recognized (he was also, at the age of twenty-eight, unusually the subject of a feature interview in Locus magazine). If he continues upon his upward path, Palumbo may be able to prove, unlike his stepbrother Dorian Vallejo, that it is not always a burden to have a famous parent. [GW]

David Palumbo

born Marquette, Michigan: 1982


  • Quickie (Burbank, California: Brandstudio Press, 2010) [graph: paintings of nudes: hb/David Palumbo]


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