Hejja, Attila

Tagged: Art

(1955-2007) American artist, born in Hungary, who moved to the United States with his family at the age of two; his year of birth has also been listed as 1954. After studying under artist Harold Stevenson, Hejja launched a career as an artist and art instructor, founding the Stevenson Academy of Fine Arts to teach students in his home town of Oyster Bay, New York. His various assignments included work for NASA, the United States Air Force, and the United Nations; several covers for Popular Mechanics magazine; and some commemorative stamps for the United States Postal Service.

Hejja began producing sf book covers in 1978 for Leisure Books, Belmont/Tower Books, and DAW Books, typically foregrounding intricately rendered Spaceships, sometimes of an unusual design; two outstanding examples in this vein graced the covers of Mack Reynolds's Brain World (1978) and a 1982 edition of Robert Silverberg's World's Fair, 1992 (1970). One might also praise his 1984 cover for Charles Sheffield's The Web Between the Worlds (1979), an unusual effort to realistically depict what the upper terminal of a Space Elevator might actually look like. Still, a gallery of Hejja's covers, mostly consisting of one metallic spaceship after another, would grow rather monotonous, though one would also encounter occasional departures from this pattern, like the loinclothed man drifting in space for a 1978 edition of Dave Van Arnam's Greyland (1972), the photographer watching a flying saucer for a 1978 edition of Eando Binder's Menace of the Saucers (1969) (also used as the cover of David Houston's Tales of Tomorrow #1: Invaders at Ground Zero [1981]), or the skull capped by a gleaming cube for Carter Scholz's and Glenn Harcourt's Palimpsests (1984). Evidently preferring to focus on other assignments, Hejja stopped painting sf book covers in the mid-1980s, although he enjoyed success in other areas until his unexpected death at the age of 52. [GW]

Attila Hejja

born Budapest, Hungary: 5 March 1955

died 26 August 2007

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