Ray Harryhausen, an undeniable influence

This morning I was sadly made aware of Ray Harryhausen’s death by Clive Hicks-Jenkin’s marvelous tribute to the great artist. Later over breakfast I read the details in this morning’s New York Times. A great man has died but his work will continue to inspire.

hary hausen and medusa:clash of the titans copyRay Harryhausen

b. June 29th 1920

d. May 7th 2013

Requiescat in Pace

It is blatantly obvious that Harryhausen has been a tremendous  personal influence ; a boyhood crush on his Jason and the Argonauts (1963) introduced me to a world previously unexplored.  Edith Hamilton with all of her literary skill was unable to tickle this little boy with sheer visual delight the way Harryhausen did. I was a snotty child and I distinctly remember chastising the film for its inaccuracies; it was not in accordance to Bullfinchian orthodoxy. Yet I sat entranced, I suppose it was the loincloths.

His work continues to influence me, so much so that the wonderful portrait of Harryhausen with his gorgeous Medusa was found in my resource file for the making of my  painting Andromedus.



oil on canvas

30 by 40 inches

His greatest influence upon my work was his  keen sense of unworldliness that I so admire; recognizable  in time and place yet clearly rooted in the terrain of dreams. I try to capture that otherness and now with his passing I am more determined than ever to explore it. My work , like Harryhausen’s has a  certain “cheesiness”, I’m not unaware of that.  My avoidance of banal realism has in part  been due to a lack of interest  (and skill level) in examining the everyday.  Harryhausen’s delight in the mythical, the wondrous, encouraged me to continue on the  fanciful, Symbolist path.  

In closing the NYT obituary, Harryhausen was quoted  :

“If you make things too real, sometimes you bring it down to the mundane.”

Harryhausen avoided the mundane and left behind a glorious legacy, I thank him for that.

Until next time, take care,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

2 thoughts on “Ray Harryhausen, an undeniable influence”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: