Barry Windsor-Smith should be known to every comic book geek for pioneering the lush, detailed sword and sorcery art style in Conan the Barbarian in the early 1970s. He has worked on and off for various comic book companies over the years, and was the artist for the X-Men for sometime in the 80's and 90's, and drew the famous Weapon X drawings, with Wolverine suspended in a holding tank, his body pierced by tubes.

Of course, there are probably some out there who don't consider comic books to be "real art", and for those, it should be pointed out that Mr. Windsor Smith does do quite a bit of real art, and sells both prints and original artwork from his studio, Barry Windsor Smith Studios. While he does work in different styles of art, from minimalist line sketches to watercolors, and does work with different types of subject matter, most of his art is fantasy based, with mythological or visionary themes and characters, and most of it has a lush, sensual and (very tasteful) erotic tone.

All that being said, the thing that is most memorable about this artist is his psychic and\or mystical experiences, as detailed in his works Opus I, Opus II and (soon to be released) Opus III. Although these books can half function as coffee table books, with rich samples of artwork, they are actually the story of how Barry, at the age of 22 and living a mostly normal life (although he was already a somewhat famed artist), begins to have bizarre experiences involving precognition , unearthly visions, past life memories, telepathy, and pretty much everything that can be imagined in that category.

Now, he isn't the first, or only person to have such experiences. And he is not the most knowledgable about the "meaning" of such things. But despite the fact that he has a quite healthy artists' ego, he seems rather modest and unassuming about his unearthly experiences. While he does toss around some jargon about the New Physics and intuitive understanding, he doesn't try to endorse a crusade for people to understand the world the way he does. He reports what he has experienced, compares it to what others may have experienced, talks about how it affected him and gives a rather brief description of how it all fits in.

I am looking forward to see what will happen to his tale in the next volume, Opus III.

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