Michael Kaluta
(American, b. 1947)
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Kaluta was born in Guatemala and spent his early childhood on a series of Air Force bases, mainly in the eastern U.S. From 1966-1968, he studied fine art at the Art School at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth) and then began his artistic career. He admired the artists Aubrey Beardsley, and Alfonse Mucha, then Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta, and these influences can be seen in his work. Like many young artists of the time, Kaluta worked for a number of major comic fanzines before entering the science fiction field with interior illustrations for the magazines Amazing Stories and Fantastic. He moved to New York City in 1969 and until 1973 focused on the comic book market.

In 1973, Kaluta expanded to posters, limited prints, portfolios, and book illustrations which showcased his developing style. Among the most notable was his 1975 Dante's Inferno Portfolio for Christopher Enterprises, which suggested the direction Kaluta would follow in his mature work; a style echoing the symmetry and sensuousness of Art Nouveau, with curvilinear swirls, but with the heroic intensity in imagery that "Sword and Sorcery" literature demanded. His first book cover assignment came 1975-1977 with books by Robert E. Howard: The Lost Valley of Iskander and The Swords of Shahrazar. Kaluta kept his drawings and sketch books, which later would see publication in collections of his 1962-1982 work. He also continued working in comics with works for Marvel and book illustration; these dual interests are ones which Kaluta has successfully maintained throughout his career.

 

In 1976, Kaluta rented a studio with three other talented artists: Jeffrey Jones, Berni Wrightson, and Barry Windsor-Smith. Together they formed an artists' collective, which was documented in the book titled simply The Studio (1979). The association lasted only four years, but it was to have lasting impact on these artists' work and the illustrative field. In 1978, Kaluta was again profiled in Dream Makers, a book devoted to the working space and styles of six fantasy artists.

 

A prolific and facile artist, Kaluta continues to produce art for a wide variety of projects: portfolios, graphic novels, comic books, conceptual and design work for film, TV, animation, and computer games, advertising design, illustrations for book covers, calendars, role-playing game cards, and more.

Frank, Jane. A Biographical Dictionary: Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists of the Twentieth Century. Published by McFarland & Company, Inc.,

Jefferson, North Carolina, and London, 2009. p. 296-7.