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Modern Master

The Spanish artist Luis Royo, is known for his exotic and sensuous paintings. Women, beasts and other life forms are his subjects.

Royo was born in Spain in 1954. His artistic education was studying technical drawings and interior design. He attended the Industrial Mastery School and the Applied Arts School in Zaragoza. Throughout the 1970's his primary work was in interior design. He did paint and exhibit in this period, primarily producing large paintings on social and political themes.

Royo's life and art were transformed when he discovered adult comics. He was particularly attracted to the works of Enki Bilal and Moebius. He felt inspired to produce comic strips for a variety of fan magazines. This led to an exhibit at Angouleme Comic Fair. After this, he never looked back to decoration or interior design. The early 80's saw Royo's comics appear in a variety of magazines, including 1984, Comix International, Rambla, El Vabora and Heavy Metal.

The event which marks the true beginning of his illustration career with an international audience, was the '83 Zaragoza Comic Fair. There, Royo met Rafael Martinez, who commissioned five illustrations for an editorial. His relationship with this publisher continues to this day. It has given birth to some of Royo's most famous work.

The artist's success in the fantasy art world has been cemented with his cover art for a variety of publishers and magazines. These include Tor Books, Berkley Books, Warner Books, Bantam Books, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, Comic Art, and Total Metal, among others. In the 90's, a host of new publishers contributed to Royo's success. Ballantine, Doubleday, Harper Paperbacks, Zebra, Fasa Corporation, Marvel, and Penthouse are just a few. With widespread distribution, it is unlikely that anyone in the world has not seen Royo's images at some point.

Royo's fantasy worlds have been published in numerous books. Women, was the first, published in 1992. It clearly demonstrates his talent for painting the female figure and erotic themes. Other publications include Malefic, Secrets, Warm Winds, III Millennium, Dreams, Conceptions, Visions and Fantastic Art. These books present the artists versatility with commissioned and non-commissioned works.

Other books are notable for their elegant eroticism. The Prohibited Book, depicts erotic fantasies on the age-old Beauty and the Beast theme. Prohibited Book II portrays a dark world of forbidden dreams and secret desires through a variety of characters. Prohibited Book III shows tension between tender beauty and the monstrous side of desire. These works are good examples of Royo's work and are recommended viewing for anyone interested in fantasy erotica. Luis Royo is indeed a technical master.

The Art

The world presented by Luis Royo is dark and exotic. He combines elements of science-fiction and fantasy with surrealism and gothic sensibilities. This creates some shocking scenes. Landscapes populated by a range of characters, futuristic, medieval, male and female, animals, robotics, ...and some hybrids of all of these.

The erotic works have complex themes. Royo revels in contrasts and contradiction. It speaks of visual encounters with the softness of beauty and brutal beasts. We see this contrast in the stare of women and in the weakness of a monster's expression. The tension is compelling to the point of heart-racing. In his own words, Royo is 'obsessed with creating visual shocks.'

The tools of the artist's trade and the secret to his combination of fantasy and realism are water colors, acrylics, pencils and a final touch of oil paint.

Current / Recent Activity

Besides books and magazines, a variety of other formats feature reproductions of Royo's fantasy paintings. These include videos, computer games, trading cards, calendars, posters, and several acclaimed decks of tarot cards. His art can also be seen on the album covers of many heavy metal bands.

Luis Royo currently lives and works in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. He has returned to painting on canvas and is focusing on more personal work. He claims to chain himself to the easel in his studio from morning until evening. Royo is absorbed in the fantasy worlds that come to life beneath his brush.

Major Accomplishments

  • commissions for Norma Editorial.
  • illustrations of Julie Strain for the animated movie Heavy Metal.
  • magazine covers for Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, Cimoc, Comic Art, Ere Comprime, and Total Metal.
  • Silver Award SPECTRUM III the best in contemporary Fantastic Art in the USA
  • nominated for a Chesley Award by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.
  • over 20 published books, including the Prohibited Book series, the Conceptions series and the Wild Sketches series.

Photos (1)

Luis Royo

Luis Royo