Jim Burns
(American, b. 1958)

Ultimately one arrives at an image which has a degree of conviction about it- a potent reality emerging from a scene which has nothing at all to do with reality.” - Jim Burns

 

Welsh-born artist Jim Burns was a fan of the “Dan Dare” weekly science fiction comic-strip in Eagle magazine and was fascinated with airplanes and other flying machines at an early age. This eventually inspired him to train as a pilot for the Royal Air Force in 1966 and then embark on formal art studies at the St. Martin School of Art in 1972.

 

Burns’ career has focused primarily on British and American hardcover and paperback book cover illustrations, particularly of science fiction and historical romances. For his covers, Burns reads the manuscript and creates a generalized image. In describing the process Burns remarks, “I let the imagination of the author create the characters and overall aspect of a scene. I apply my imagination to the detail and the ambience.” Science fiction author Harry Harrison reflects on Burns’ work: “You’ll find the same love of texture in the softness of a woman’s skin as you will in the brittle coldness of machined metal.

 

Burns’ photorealistic, airbrushed works have gained the admiration of sci-fi fans including Ridley Scott who asked him to work on concept designs for the movie Blade Runner (1982). Burns is considered one of the most popular artists still working in science fiction today.