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Salwowski, Mark

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1953-    ) British artist. He moved with his family to Australia at the age of eleven, graduated from high school, and obtained two years of artistic training at college until a motorcycle accident ended his educational career. He soon went to work for a printing company, eventually serving as its Senior Product Coordinator, before going into business as a freelance artist. Returning to Britain in 1984, he began receiving assignments to paint sf and Fantasy book covers. His first noteworthy effort, for a 1985 edition of Philip José Farmer's Strange Relations (coll 1960), featured a strange tentacled creature embracing a naked man sucking his thumb; another distinctive effort, for a 1986 edition of Greg Bear's Blood Music (1985), offered a bald woman's head seemingly melting into a grey mass.

Having demonstrated his talents for surrealistic images, sometimes rendered in surprising colours, Salwowski worked steadily as a cover artist for fifteen years, exclusively for British publishers. Unusually versatile, he could effectively illustrate works of Heroic Fantasy, as seen in his painting of a woman riding a dragon for the cover of a 1993 edition of Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey's The Elvenbane (1991), but he could also handle the tropes of Hard SF, as in his portrait of a Spaceship nearing Saturn for a 2000 edition of Orson Scott Card's Earthborn (1995). His career in sf art ended in 2000, when he returned to Australia and shifted his attention to other projects, including doing the illustrations for Sally Odgers's children's book, Fantastic Creatures (2009). He was also suffering from exhaustion due to undiagnosed heart problems, eventually resulting in a 2009 heart attack requiring triple bypass surgery. But Salwowski has expressed optimism that, with his health issues resolved, he will be able to resume his artistic career. [GW]

Mark Salwowski

born Finchley, London: 1953


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