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Greg Hildebrandt

Uncle Sam

Acrylic on canvas

38 x 25 inches


BIOGRAPHY - Greg Hildebrandt

Greg Hildebrandt

Star Wars – 1977 Original Movie Poster, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Magic the Gathering, Vintage Pinup, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Illustrated Classics – Alice in Wonderland Etc., Black Sabbath Mob Rules, Vampirella, Classic Car Art, Movie Posters– Clash of Titans


The sons of a Chevrolet division chief, Greg Hildebrandt and his identical twin brother, Tim, were born in Detroit, Michigan in 1939. Both boys were avid artists and creative thinkers from a young age and carried their artistic passion with them throughout their childhoods.


After attending the Meinzinger Art School at age 18, Greg and Tim worked for the Jam Handy Organization and Industrial Film Production Corporation. They worked on animated training films for the auto industry, the military and major US corporations. In 1963, they moved from Detroit to New York City to work for Arch Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. He hired them to create art for his weekly TV show, Life is Worth Living, and to produce films on world hunger.


Eventually their focus moved on to commercial illustration, and in 1975, Greg and Tim illustrated the first of a series of Lord of the Rings calendars for Ballantine Books. This series of paintings launched the two men into international fame, with over a million calendars sold, and the name The Brothers Hildebrandt® was born! In 1977, Lucas Films hired the Brothers Hildebrandt to create the movie poster for first Star Wars film, Star Wars: A New Hope. They only had 36 hours to create and paint the art. The movie was about to break in the theaters. They completed it on time. Lucas was very happy and another worldwide fandom was created.


For years they worked together and apart, receiving international recognition and numerous awards and honors. But for Greg, there was something inside him that he needed to let out.


In 1979 Greg began to work with a new agent, Jean Scrocco. She is still his agent to this day. One of the first licenses Jean wrote for Greg was with the Heavy Metal band, Black Sabbath. They wanted to use one of Greg’s dream paintings from the early 70’s for an album cover. Greg said, no. Jean licensed it anyway. The album was Mob Rules. Thank God for agents.


Since the age of 8, Greg was drawn to both pin-up art and cars. He remembers going to his grandparent’s house and sneaking into the basement to look through his grandfather’s pin-up calendars, which were illustrated by the great Gil Elvgren. The style and rendering of those paintings intrigued him and inspired him. Greg knew that some day he would create his own series of beautiful women. He just didn’t know when.


In the 1980’s Michael Jackson was an entertainer on top of the world. He was also a big fan of Greg’s art. He owned every book Greg had ever illustrated and in 1988 Michael bought the cover painting to Greg’s Peter Pan book. He then began a friendship with Greg. Greg stayed at the Helmsley Palace with Michael, in his own suite, for 10 days during the Bad Tour. In the off hours he watched Michel rehearse. He gave him drawing lessons with Bubbles and they shopped together at the Strand bookstore. The following year Greg spent two weeks at Neverland Ranch with Michael. They spent time drawing and talking about music and literature and art. These are memories Greg holds very dear.


Finally, in 1999, at 60 years old Greg Hildebrandt decided it was time to paint for himself. Greg recalls, “I sat at my drawing board and began to sketch. I had no idea what I wanted to do. No clue what direction I wanted these paintings to go in. What I had was my love of art and an overwhelming appreciation of the beauty of women.


I knew one thing. I knew that I did not want my paintings to look like the great masters of pin-up art from the 40's and 50's: Gil Elvgren, George Petty, Haddon Sundblom and Alberto Vargas. I knew I wanted to set them in the 40's and 50's but they had to be mine. I didn't want anyone looking at my art like I was copying these great artists. I want people to see my vision of pin-up art.


After weeks of drawing I finally realized that no matter how hard I tried, the sketches that I liked the best were full illustrations. Corner to corner so to speak – art that tells a story.”


            Greg decided to pick a sub-genre to focus on for his paintings. His first piece would combine elements close to his heart – a beautiful woman, a Jazz bar, and a handful of his friends. After finding the right model, Greg painted his first ever Noir pin-up painting, ‘Emerald Evening’, and American Beauties was begun!


Within weeks of finishing ‘Emerald Evening’ Greg landed a one-man show at the Meisel Gallery in Soho, New York.  For the next year, all Greg painted was beautiful women in retro clothes and settings.


After a few years there were enough paintings to feature the American Beauties on their own website, so Greg’s agent created a special online gallery just for these works of art, AmericanBeautiesArt.com. The American Beauties collection has unique subsets. There are good girls, bad girls, show-girls, girls with boats and planes, girls with guns and cars. Each of these paintings has a story to tell. 


Greg has also had the honor to paint original nose art on five magnificent World War II war birds in Texas and California. These planes in themselves are a work of art. Each of the Texas paintings brought Greg to Texas to work on scaffolding for at least 2 weeks at a time. His hope is that these planes will live on forever.


Since 2003 Greg has been the exclusive artist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He creates all the art for their album covers, tour programs and their merchandise. This is very special to Greg as he loves their music and is very close to Paul O’Neill, the creator of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Greg was heartbroken in 2017 when Paul passed away unexpectedly at 60 years old. He still creates all the art for TSO.


In 2013 Greg started a new series titled “Kid Stuff”. For years he has wanted to paint his toys that he has been collecting for 40 years. These toys and puppets are all from his childhood of the 40’s and 50’s. To date he has painted 4 giant puppet heads. The first of which, “Said the Spider to the Fly” won first place in still life in the ARC international competition in 2015.


In 2015 Greg had the opportunity to return to Star Wars after 20 years for Marvel Comics. He painted three new pieces for them for Star Wars compendium covers. He also painted Deadpool, Old Man Logan, Secret Wars, Captain America vs Hitler, Black Panther, Thor, Thanos, The Inhumans and Conan comic covers for them. He is presently working on an Old Man Logan cover for Marvel. Greg will be painting this one live at New York Comic Con.


In 2015 Greg started a new series titled, The Dark Side. In this series he painted his favorite villains in extremely large paintings. Focusing mostly on giant head shots. The first three in the series are The Joker, Harley Quinn and Batman.


This year, 2018, Greg began a new series titled “What If”. What if he wasn’t a kid in the 40’s and 50’s. What if he was an artist hired to paint the movie posters for the films he has loved since his first movie at age 5? So, he started with – Creature from the Black Lagoon. The second painting he completed in this series is a painting for KING KONG, 86 inches tall! This one is a KILLER PIECE OF ART. Then Greg decided to repaint the 1977 Star Wars poster. In 1977 he painted it in 36 hours with his brother Tim. This time he painted it in 36 hours alone.


Recently Greg was honored by the Air Force at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. They requested a license to put one of Greg’s pinup paintings titled, “Keep em Flying”, on the nose of a transport plane. Greg of course said yes. This is a dream come true for him.


We asked Greg about the pinups and he says:


“Here I am, years later, with over 117 finished paintings in my American Beauties series and I still have a mountain of sketches on my drawing board. I have decided that if I lived five lifetimes I would not be able to paint all the images of beautiful women that I see in my mind.


So, I keep sketching and picking individual pieces to paint. I keep searching for the perfect model to fit my images. I keep buying vintage clothes and stuff to use in the paintings. And I keep hoping that I have another 30 or 40 years left to paint.


American Beauties was a long time in the making for me. I hope you enjoy the art as much as I enjoy creating it. I hope my American Beauties art has the ability to transform and inspire you. I hope that it stirs passions within you. And I hope that it fulfills your fantasies and dreams.


If after you have viewed this series I have achieved even one of the above, then I have succeeded in my quest.


In 2021 the world changed with the wave of new technology. The world of the NFT began. Greg met with many companies and decided that he would create an exclusive relationship with Heavy Metal and Everscapes for his art to be transformed into animated NFTs. As an artist with a lifelong passion for animation Greg is enjoying watching his art come to life. NFT’s have opened up an entirely new world for artist’s works. The next thing you learn from scratch! At 83 Greg strives to learn something new every day. It keeps him young.


 “I hope you enjoy all my art as much as I enjoy painting it.” “So little time! So much to paint!”  – Greg Hildebrandt