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 Greg Hildebrandt  (1939 - )

About: Greg Hildebrandt
 

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Lived/Active: Michigan/New Jersey      Known for: pin up illustration, animation, documentary films

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AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Rendezvous at the Empire
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
GREG HILDEBRANDT BIOGRAPHY

.....The year was 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House. Hitler was waging war on Britain and France. The country's 131 million people were lining up to see The Wizard of Oz, the Yankees won the World Series Championship, a loaf of bread cost 8 cents, and, on January 23, the Brothers Hildebrandt were born.

.....Throughout their careers, Greg and Tim, identical twins, would work together and separately, winning awards, fame, and challenges as illustrators. They would create everything from the world famous poster for Star Wars, to the best-selling calendars illustrating J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, to their own fantasy novel, Urshurak. They also worked on advertising art, hundreds of classic children's books, and the covers of numerous fantasy and science fiction novels. .....

Together they won the coveted Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. In 1973, the Child Study Association chose their Giant Panda Book as a Children's Books of the Year. ..... At the ripe old age of two, Greg and Tim had already demonstrated the genesis of their artistic talents. Their mother recalls George, their father, teaching the boys to color with crayons. He noted that before long the twins had taken the crayons away from him, and were even coloring within the lines......

Greg and Tim were strongly influenced by many of the great comic books and strips of the era, especially Green Lantern, Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon, Prince Valiant, Green Hornet, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.

At the age of eight, they emulated the artwork in these comics, getting their first, and often frustrating, lessons in anatomy and perspective. ..... Greg and Tim were also captivated by other forms of fantasy: marionettes and puppets, especially Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy; science fiction novels and films, including Frankenstein, and George Pal's classics When Worlds Collide and The War of the Worlds; and illustrators, especially N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish. .....

Perhaps the biggest artistic influence on the twins was the work of Walt Disney, specifically the animated features, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio and Fantasia. Greg and Tim have both been asked to speak to the animation department of Disney on their use of light and color. ..... The twins dreamed of becoming Disney animators. This dream led them to their enrollment in Meinzinger's Art School in Detroit, when they learned that all hopeful Disney animators must have some formal art training.

While they did not ultimately work for Disney, they would become celebrated animators and documentary filmmakers, winning the Golden Eagle award for Project Hope. This film was a documentary chronicling the efforts of a medical relief ship, and innovatively combined live action with animation to tell its story. .....

In 1963 Greg & Tim moved from Detroit to New Jersey. They came to work for Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. The Bishop sent them around the world making documentary films on hunger and poverty. Greg & Tim also created art for the Bishop's TV show which aired weekly. .....

In 1969 they decided to take a new path and began illustrating children¹s books for all the major publishers. This would consume them for the next six years. ..... In 1975, the twins, then virtually unknown as artists, burst into the world of illustration, winning the opportunity to illustrate the 1976 Ballantine calendar based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings. They went on to illustrate the Tolkien calendars for the next two years, with the 1978 calendar selling more than one million copies, a record.

This sudden fame and exposure allowed the twins, now known as the Brothers Hildebrandt, extraordinary opportunities. They illustrated the best-selling novel by Terry Brooks, The Sword of Shanarra. For the movies, they painted the poster for a 1979 re-release of Barbarella, the 1981 fantasy film The Clash of the Titans, and the world-famous poster for the history making film Star Wars. ....

The Hildebrandt's then went on to write and illustrate their epic fantasy novel, Urshurak, which featured 16 full-color paintings and over fifty black-and-white illustrations ‹ a publishing event which reached the New York Times Bestsellers List. .....

In 1981, the Brothers separated to pursue their own individual careers. Greg's art appeared on the covers of several magazines, including Omni and Heavy Metal. Verkeke, one of the largest international poster companies, created an entire series around his art. The Franklin Mint, Lenox, Danbury and Bradford have issued Greg's work on collector's plates, figurines, dolls, knives and swords. His art has been used in advertising and has been licensed for such products as puzzles, greeting cards, and French needlepoint canvases. His images have also been reproduced on eight sets of trading cards. .....

In l984, Greg illustrated a calendar based on Mary Stewart's widely acclaimed Merlin Trilogy; The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Greg has said, "Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy is a major fantasy work with a large following...I had an incredible feeling that my art had satisfied Lady Stewart when I received a letter from her and she said that her words and characters were now moving around in my world.".....

Following in the tradition of many great illustrators, Greg went on to illustrate 15 heirloom classics and fairy tale collections. The series included: The Wizard of Oz, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Robin Hood, Dracula, and Phantom of the Opera. There are over 3,500,000 copies in print of the combined titles. The New York Times has said, "Fortunate the child or adult who receives a gift of classics richly illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt." .....

Greg's artwork is collected by many famous people, some of whom include: Michael Jackson and Robin Williams. In February of 1993, Greg and Tim's centerfold painting of "The Unexpected Party," from the 1977 Tolkien Calendar, sold for $150,000.

..... In 1993 Greg painted a cover for the DC Comics' Spectre series. The comic was awarded DC¹s Cover of the Month. This painting marked Greg¹s first foray into the field which had so inspired him in his youth...... After 12 long but productive years, the Brothers Hildebrandt reunited in 1993. They have continued to pursue their individual careers as well as working together. .....

In 1994 Stan Lee contacted the Hildebrandts to paint the pre-production art for an animated feature film on Thor. ..... In 1994, the Brothers completed 158 paintings for Fleer's Marvel Masterpieces Card Set depicting the Marvel Universe. The card set was Fleer's best seller of the year. These fabulous paintings were exhibited at the Alexander Gallery in New York City, and many of them are hanging today in the Spiderwebart Art Gallery in Hopatcong, New Jersey. For this set, Non-Sports Update magazine awarded Greg and Tim their coveted "Gummy" award. Following the success of the Marvel Masterpieces, Fleer asked the Brothers to paint over two dozen cards for their X-Men and Spider-Man Card Sets. .....

In the brief time they managed to find between projects, the Hildebrandts connected with Michael Uslan, executive producer of the Batman films, to bring back the action adventure comic strip Terry and the Pirates. Beginning on March 26, 1995, the nationally syndicated strip ran continuously in newspapers for 53 weeks. They also created pre-production film art for Michael Uslan on The Spirit, The Eye, The Fly and Annie. .....

Greg and Tim were then commissioned by Marvel to create a bookshelf-format comic book for its X-Men 2099 series, entitled "Oasis." The Brothers spent the better part of a year creating a fully painted graphic novel, which was published in 1996. Following closely on the heels of "Oasis," Greg and Tim spent most of the following year painting 100 pieces of art for Shadows of the Empire, George Lucas¹s new novel set in the ongoing Star Wars saga. .....

1997 brought many new interesting projects to Greg and Tim. They painted a Superman graphic novel for DC comics and a pirate story of their own called The Emerald 7 for the Frazetta Fantasy Magazine. They also created eighteen new trading cards for Fleer/Skybox, a series of religious paintings for prints and pre-production art for a new animated feature length movie produced by the Kraft Benjamin Agency. ..... They were asked to paint, for the National Institute of Health and the American Diabetes Association, a piece that was used as the promotional poster for the Diabetes Prevention Program. The Theme of the program was Taming The Dragon Of Diabetes. .....

Their art book, Star Wars the Art of Greg and Tim Hildebrandt was released in stores on November 17, 1997. The book is 128 pages and spans 20 years of their Star Wars art. It was the first in a series of art books on Greg and Tim's career. .....

In 1998 Greg and Tim created 6 large paintings for Universal's Island's of Adventure Theme Park in Florida and completed their paintings for the Random House book on the Star Wars Episode 1, film...... 1999 was the year for Magic The Gathering, book covers, comic covers and the beginning of a new Pin-up series by Greg .....

Even though Greg and Tim have had highly successful careers in other venues it seems as if their fans from the 1970's Tolkien calendars cannot let them go. So, after 21 years in the making, in June of 2001 the circle of Tolkien finally became complete. Watson Guptill along with Spiderwebart released the most complete compilation of Hildebrandt Tolkien art in one book, Greg and Tim Hildebrandt, The Tolkien Years. This event could have only been followed up by one thing, the reissue of the Tolkien Calendars from the 70's. The first one was released for 2002. There will be 4 calendars in the series. .....

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