for BWS the journey has been about becoming a serious storyteller,
to meld his love of the fantastic with the living characters and dialogue
of contemporary fiction. It is about growth as both an artist and a writer,
learning to create people out of air and then make them breathe and affect
the reader. With STORYTELLER, Windsor-Smith felt he was close.
With MONSTERS, he may have created his great American novel. Windsor-Smith,
love his work or not, has given a great deal of time to developing the
art of the story, combining words and pictures. But he has no interest
in writing stories for other artists “I’d
spend most of my time explaining the acting.” Likewise,
at this point in his life, he will not illustrate another person’s
story -- “Been there,
to quote the cliché.”
We wander the rooms
of the studio, where every wall is covered with amazing paintings and
drawings that I, an avowed fan of Windsor-Smith’s art,
have never seen before. It is a treat. Most of the work is in progress;
like old school painters, Windsor-Smith can take years to complete a painting
if he so desires, returning to each piece as his mood or time allows. There
is also a sign that pops up in every room. It says, simply, “Fuck
Censorship.” It is apparent that one key to Windsor-Smith’s
art and personality is to understand that the truth is important to him.
As mentioned earlier, he is honest to the point of brutality, and his
honesty affects his work. It is not the lure of money, although he certainly
money and has the aesthetic taste to spend it well, nor the kiss of fame,
for he does not attend shows if possible and appears to be comfortably
Windsor-Smith, his art and stories are created because they must be,
because he honestly needs to tell them. He works whether or not he
has an assignment, every day for hours. He toils over stories for years,
decades even, regardless of whether he gets a publisher. His dedication
to an art form that doesn’t reward dedication is interesting,
and reflects another of his personality traits, a tenacious stubbornness.
stop to look over reams of drawings being sorted for OPUS.
This book is meant to be a compendium
of all his work, and among the treasures being unearthed are pastels,
oils, pencils, studies, all reflecting the influence of Victorian Classic
revival (Frederic Leighton, Alma-Tadema, etc.) mixed with the Romanticism of
The Pre-Raphaelites and their school (Burne-Jones in particular)
his 20th century work to be more Romantic than Classical, for even
the Revivalists of the 19th Century were far more Romantic than their
This is why he coined the title New Romantic back in the mid seventies.
Windsor-Smith has developed his own style in the tradition of fine
artists of a distant age. He has made sure that he knows how to draw,
composition, color theory and more. It is his New Romantic style rather
than his comics style that I have always been more moved by, and leads
me to ask, “Why not do more of the art rather than the comic
answers, “Comics art is literal cartooning. I have to commit
to one or the other. Either I’m a comic artist or I’m not.
I cannot be both, or one sensibility will suffer for the other.”