comic art by Guy Peellaert
'The Adventures of Jodelle'.

Guy Peellaert was a Belgian illustrator, photographer, animator and comic artist. He gained cult fame as album cover designer for various rock artists, including David Bowie, Willy DeVille and The Rolling Stones. Peellaert also romanticized rock 'n' roll in paintings, compiled in the book 'Rock Dreams' (1974). Peellaert worked in a pop art style, using pastels, airbrush and photo collages. He applied the same look for his psychedelic comics 'Les Aventures de Jodelle' (1966), 'Pravda, La Survireuse' (1967), 'The Game' (1968) and 'SHE and the Green Hairs' (1968).

Early life and career
Guy Louis Peellaert was born in 1934 in the Belgian capital Brussels. Despite being born in a rich, bourgeois family he favored becoming an artist. He studied Decorative Arts at the Institut Saint-Luc in Brussels, where he excelled in mural paintings. Nevertheless he only completed four of the seven necessary study years. In 1953 he and his father got into a serious argument. When Peellaert hit his father, he left home and broke all ties with his family. In 1953 Peellaert joined a voluntary military mission to fight during the Korean War (1950-1953). Back in civilian life in 1955, he worked as a decoration assistant for the National Theater in Belgium and for fashion designer Denis Martin.  From 1957 on he worked for the Belgian branch of Max Factor make-up products. Three years later, he quit this job, because it limited his creativity and was too repetitive. Peellaert made several designs for the Walloon public TV channel RTB. Most promoted broadcasts of jazz concerts. In 1963 Peellaert designed the annual calendar of the Belgian national airline company Sabena. 

Among his main graphic influences were Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh, John Heartfield, Edward Hopper, Raymond Savignac, René Magritte and - from the early 1960s on - the pop art movement popularized by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Peellaert was mezmerized by film posters, which he often saw on display in local film theaters. In post-war Belgium, U.S. pop culture and advertisements were very popular among the population. Compared with France, which tried to regulate this kind of 'Americana', Belgium was more open to these foreign influences. Peellaert recalled that he was able to see various Hollywood pictures in Brussels and Antwerp, which didn't play in France. Although Peellaert loved jazz and R&B, he was especially in love with rock 'n' roll. The music not only excited him, but also motivated him to break with conformity. He imitated the poster style, gave it a pop art approach and glorified Hollywood actors and rock stars in his art. After his 1960 marriage, he named his son Orson, after Hollywood actor and director Orson Welles. 

Pravda by Guy Peellaert
'Pravda, la survireuse'.

Les Aventures de Jodelle
In 1966 Peellaert made a brief entry into comics. His first comic strip, 'Les Aventures de Jodelle' (1966) was a satirical espionage comic set in a futuristic fantasy world. It appeared in Hara-Kiri (the precessor of Charlie-Hebdo), and was scripted by Pierre Barbier. The heroine in this erotic story, with influences from psychedelia and pop art, was modelled after French singer Sylvie Vartan. True to the counterculture of the time period, the comic had a free-spirited attitude and satirized symbols of the more old-fashioned and repressive mainstream culture, such as Pope Paul VI, Jesus Christ, president Charles De Gaulle and Lyndon B. Johnson. The comic was translated and received excellent reviews by none other than novelist Umberto Eco and film director Federico Fellini, who described Peellaert's oeuvre as "the literature of intelligence, fantasy and romanticism".

Pravda, La Surviveuse
A follow-up to 'Les Aventures de Jodelle', 'Pravda, La Survireuse' (1967) was published in Hara-Kiri too, but this time with actor/journalist Pascal Thomas as scriptwriter. The sexy protagonist took her looks from French singer Françoise Hardy. The story follows a surrealistic road trip of a biker gang with a group of half-naked women in a mythical American landscape.

Minor comics
Hara-Kiri published other comics by Peellaert, namely 'The Game' (January-September 1968) and - in collaboration with Roger Wolfs - 'SHE and the Green Hairs' (1968). Both were followed up by the story 'Carashi!' (August 1969 - March 1970) and the one-shot comic 'Martha Benton' (June 1970). All were compiled in the book 'The Game - Stories 1968-1970' (Prairie, October 2018). 

Jodelle, by Guy Peellaert
'The Adventures of Jodelle'.

Film posters, animation and TV work
Peellaert designed several movie posters, among others for Martin Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' (1976), Francis Ford Coppola's 'One From The Heart' (1982) and 'The Outsiders' (1983), Stephen Frears' 'My Beautiful Laundrette' (1985) and Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts' (1994). Most of his film posters promoted the pictures of Wim Wenders, including 'Der Amerikanische Freund' (1977), 'Paris/Texas' (1984) and 'Der Himmel über Berlin' (1987). Peellaert animated the opening titles and other cartoons for Alain Jessua's film 'Jeu de Massacre' (1967). In 1982 he designed the end credits for the film discussion show 'Cinéma, Cinémas' on the French TV channel Antenne 2. 

Album covers 
Peellaert is most famous for his pop art paintings of rock legends. He illustrated covers for David Bowie ('Diamond Dogs' [1974] and 'Bowie at the Beeb' [2000]) and The Rolling Stones ('It's Only Rock 'n' Roll', 1974). Other artists who designed record covers for Bowie have been Neon Park and Derek Boshier, while the Stones' record covers have been illustrated by artists like Steven ThomasAndy Warhol and their own drummer: Charlie Watts. Peellaert also livened up record sleeves for Willy DeVille ('Horse of A Different Color, 1999) and Astor Piazzolla ('Tanguedia de Amor', 1989). For French bands and musicians he designed album covers for Guy Béart ('Béart Chante L'Espace', 1968), Étienne Daho ('Pour Nos Vies Martiennes', 1988), Jacques Loussier ('Jeu de Massacre', 1967), Second Sex ('Petite Mort', 2008) and Les Variations ('Café de Paris', 1975). He also illustrated the cover of 'Wandatta' (1996) by Portuguese-Belgian singer Lio. 

Rock 'n' roll paintings 
Peellaert made several thematical paintings featuring iconic celebrities. His bestselling book, 'Rock Dreams' (1974), written by Nik Cohn, compiled airbrush paintings of famous rock stars. The work brings musicians like Elvis, Presley, John Lennon and Mick Jagger together in fantasy situations. For instance, Peellaert used a publicity picture of the Beatles movie 'A Hard Day's Night' (1964) to depict the Fab Four being chased by a policeman. In 'Vegas. The Big Room' (1986), he livened up texts by Michael Herr about rock artists. With 'Dreams of the 20th Century' (1999), Peellaert and Cohn collaborated again, this time depicting 20th-century politicians (Richard Nixon), activists (Muhammad Ali) and socialites (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) in surreal combinations. Peellaert's final art book was 'Fashion Dreams' (2008). Made for Next, the cultural supplement of the paper Libération, 'Fashion Dreams' glorified musicians like Madonna and Tina Turner. 

Diamond Dogs by Guy Peellaert
Cover art for David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs' (1974) album. Bowie's dog-like genitalia were notoriously airbrushed out on some prints. 

Final years and death
Guy Peellaert's art has been exhibited all over the globe, from New York over Havana to Tokyo. In 2008 he passed away from cancer at age 74. 

Legacy and influence
Guy Peellaert's pop art comics inspired Dutch authors Lo Hartog van Banda and Thé Tjong-Khing's psychedelic and sensual comic strip 'Iris' (1968), widely considered the first Dutch graphic novel. In Brazil, Peellaert's comics also inspired Daniel Azulay's 'Capitão Cipó' (1968-1969) and Jacques Tardi. Bringing the circle round, Peellaert's love for rock music eventually inspired the name of a famous pop band. The British group Frankie Goes to Hollywood, famous for the hit 'Relax' (Don't Do It)' (1984), were inspired by Peellaert's painting 'Frank Sinatra', which has the headline 'Frankie Goes Hollywood'. Images from Peellaert's comic 'Pravda' have been featured on the cover of 'Back From World War III' (1999) by the rock band Jack Meatbeat and the U.G.S. and 'Make It Happen' (2000) by Play Group. Fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac incorporated 'Pravda' imagery in his fasion collection 'Physical Graffiti' (2002). 'Pravda' was also parodied by Christophe Blain in the comic strip 'Une Fille' (2008). 

comic art by Guy Peellaert
From the cover of 'Rock Dreams'. From left ro right: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and David Bowie.

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