(1969- ) US illustrator who graduated in 1992 from the University of Texas at Austin and practised as an architect for some years until, in 2001, becoming a full-time artist; since then he has published at least one book cover a month on average, producing also interior illustrations and others. His first book commission was for the 1996 30th-anniversary edition of Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man (September 1966 New Worlds; exp 1969), which he designed and for which he did the cover and a set of interior Illustrations. He is versatile in his selection of media, often starting with traditional drawing and painting which he then enhances using digital techniques; however, like his major influence Richard Powers, he is willing to incorporate handcrafted 3D structures and anything else that seems right for the work in question. A typical Picacio cover Illustration, if there can be said to be such a thing, mixes elements of realism with abstraction to create a dynamic sense that one small push could send the artwork toppling into one style or the other. His art for George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire 2012 Calendar (graph 2011), by contrast, displays a more traditionally Heroic Fantasy sensibility.
Picacio received the 2005 World Fantasy Award, the 2007 and 2015 Locus Awards and two International Horror Guild Awards (2002 and 2007), all in the Best Artist category, plus seven Chesley Awards, including the 2006 award for Artistic Achievement, and two Asimov's Science Fiction Poll Awards for Best Cover Art (2009 and 2010). He has been nominated many times for a Hugo as Best Professional Artist – winning for the first time in 2012 and again in 2013 – and once in the Best Related Book category for his collection Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio (graph coll 2006). [JGr]
John Michael Picacio
born San Antonio: 3 September 1969
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