An extraordinary and experimental early work by Hannes Bok, featuring a bizarre surreal landscape with a young boy riding a prehistoric creature. Hannes Bok was the pseudonym of Wayne Woodard, a self taught artist who was fascinated by the luminous quality of Maxfield Parrish's oil paintings. The self-taught Bok got some help from Parrish when he visited Parrish's New Hampshire farm in the mid-1930s. The two kept in touch for some years thereafter. Learning of Bok's poverty and impressed by the artworks Bok so eagerly showed him, Parrish gave Bok an expensive set of oil paints and brushes to help the teenager build on his obvious gifts. This is a very early example of Bok's unique vision and peculiarities.
This work comes from the Emil Petaja archives and was exhibited in the "Looking Back at Looking Beyond" art exhibition.
Hannes Bok was born Wayne Woodard in 1914, in Duluth Minnesota. He was the product of a divorced home and a stern father. Hannes left home in his teens, hitchhiking around the county during the early days of the Depression. He lived for many years in Seattle before moving across Country to New York City and enlisting his services with publishers that worked in the Pulps. He worked with the WPA art project in Seattle. He migrated south to Los Angeles and attended the meeting of the Science Fiction Society, where they met Ray Bradbury. In 1939, Ray Bradbury went to New York for the first Science Fiction Convention. He acted as Bok's art agent, showing his work to the fantasy pulp publishers of the day. His covers graced Weird Tales, Marvel Science Fiction, Science Stories and countless other science fiction minded pulp publications. With his paintings, he achieved a luminous quality through the use of an arduous glazing process, learned from his mentor, Maxfield Parrish. He was the first artist to win a Hugo Award, which was special recognition for science fiction illustration. Bok's works also appeared on early fanzines, calendars and dustjackets from specialty book publishers such as Arkham House, Shasta, Llewellyn and Fantasy Press. Hannes Bok died in poverty alone in Manhattan in 1964.