John Jude Palencar

2010 Hamilton King Award Winner: John Jude Palencar

Artist and Illustrator, John Jude Palencar spent his early years wandering the near west side streets and old immigrant neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. After many arduous run-ins with the nuns at the local catholic school he attended, his family moved to the suburbs when he was in third grade. Eventually entering Midpark high school John came under the instruction and mentorship of Frederick C. Graff, his high school art instructor, who was also an established artist. After winning numerous art awards and selling a few paintings in high school, John decided to pursue a career in art. He attended the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) on scholarship receiving a BFA degree in 1980. During his college years he worked for the American Greetings Card Company and freelanced, establishing an impressive list of regional and national clients in editorial, advertising and corporate art. As a senior at CCAD he won the top cash award at the Society of Illustrators Student Exhibition and was also presented with a scholarship to the Illustrators Workshop held in Paris, France.

For more than twenty-Þve years he has created both beautiful and horrific images and received honors for his contributions to the Þeld of illustration including Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, two Gold Book Awards from Spectrum, additional awards from Communication Arts, Print Regoinal Design Annual, American Illustration and six Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists including the award for "Artistic Achievement". Most recently John was awarded Spectrum's Grand Master Award.

His work has appeared on hundreds of book covers for just about every major publisher in the U.S., and in over thirty countries around the world. John has created cover art for such renowned authors as H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, P.D. James, Charles deLint, R.L.Stine, Octavia Butler, David Brin and Stephen King to name a few. New York Times Best Selling author, Christopher Paolini, a fan of John's work, named the lead character's birthplace "Palancar Valley", after John in his NY TImes Bestseller, Eragon for which John also painted the cover.

Other clients include - Time Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Anheuser Busch, and Nat. Geo. Television, The Opera Company of Philadelphia has employed his illustrative talents for their publications and productions. Palencar has also worked on entertainment projects for Lucas Arts, Electronic Arts, Paramount Pictures and Vivendi Universal.

John has been an "artist-in-residence" at the Cill Rialaig Arts Project in County Kerry, Ireland, where his personal paintings were included in a special exhibit entitled, ÒImages of IrelandÓ held at the National Museum in Dublin. He has also exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions and has been the visiting artist at several colleges and universities across the country over the years.

Arnie Fenner of Spectrum states,"John Jude Palencar is a rarity among modern artists, mixing meticulous technique reminiscent of the old masters with a soaring, darkly surreal imagination. There are touches of Bosch and Da Vinci in his visual allegories of netherworld landscapes and doomed characters."

Yes, he still lives and maintains a studio in the Ohio wilderness with his lovely wife, Lee and two sons Ian and Kit. He is now actively engaged in battling rogue chipmunks instead of nuns.

Origins - The Art of John Jude Palencar, published by Underwood Books is a sumptuous tribute and collection of his book covers and personal works.