A painting by artist Barclay Shaw that appeared on the cover of the 1986 book, ‘The Cunningham Equations.’
Born in Bronxville, New York in 1949, Barclay Shaw‘s career in art began rather modestly in the fields of sculpture and woodworking. In 1978 at the age of 29 and after spending time at the New England School of Art and Design, he branched out into painting obtaining work as a freelance artist. A year later his work was selected to appear on two covers of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It wouldn’t be long before Shaw was busy painting covers for science fiction and fantasy books for authors such as Hugo Award-winning author Harlan Ellison (sixteen in all), Isaac Asimov, and Philip K. Dick.
It is somewhat mind-boggling how prolific Shaw has been over the last four decades—and the artist’s bibliography posted on the ISFDB (the Internet Speculative Fiction Database thank you very much) made me dizzy just trying to scroll through its list of entries. In 1995, Shaw finally got around to publishing a book containing his luminous artwork, Electric Dreams: The Art of Barclay Shaw which would win him a Hugo Award for Best Nonfiction Book in 1996. The introduction for Shaw’s first and only book was written by a man who gave him his big break, Harlan Ellison.
Images of Shaw’s remarkable work below—some is slightly NSFW.
Shaw’s artwork for the cover of Harlan Ellison’s 1975 book, ‘No Doors, No Windows.’
‘Approaching Oblivion’ 1974.
Artwork by Shaw for Harlan Ellison’s 1968 book, ‘Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Mispelled.’
Shaw’s painting for the 1995 book ‘The Shockwave Rider.’
Artwork by Shaw for a 1986 edition of Robert Heinlein’s book, ‘The Puppet Masters.’
The cover of the 1986 book ‘Neuromancer’ by William Gibson.
Artwork by Shaw for the cover of the 1990 ‘The Metrognome and Other Stories’ by Alan Dean Foster.
A painting by Shaw for the cover of the June 1983 issue of Heavy Metal.
Artwork by Shaw used for a 1984 edition of Philip K. Dick’s book 1964 , ‘The Penultimate Truth.’
A painting by Shaw used for the cover of a 1983 edition of ‘The Regiments of Night’ by Brian N. Ball.
The cover of the 1983 edition of ‘Partners of Wonder’ by Harlan Ellison.
The cover of James Luceno’s 1990 book, ‘Illegal Alien.’
Artwork for the 1983 edition of Harlan Ellison’s book, ‘The Deadly Streets.’
Shaw’s arwork for the 1985 edition of Isaac Asimov’s book ‘The Martian Way and Other Stories.’
The cover for the 1984 edition of Isaac Asimov’s book, ‘The Gods Themselves.’
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dreamy sci-fi paintings show the world after an alien invasion
Far-out sci-fi album art for ELO, Giorgio Moroder, Earth, Wind & Fire and more by Shusei Nagaoka
Godzilla, girls and guns: Color-drenched Japanese sci-fi art
The fabulously surreal sci-fi book covers of Davis Meltzer
Visual Futurist: Step inside the sci-fi world created by ‘Blade Runner’ visionary Syd Mead