When I came across the Art of Al Rio, it was when I had decided that I wanted to hone and pursue my fantasy arts to the next level, the written and artwork form. I have already done the tactile, diorama, and even two novels, but the drawn/drafted art form has always been my favorite, and first.
It was my intention, after realizing that I had always appreciated his works but sadly came to his name late, to want to get the chance to meet or correspond with Al Rio, even if at a convention as I had done with the other artisans I admire such as Kaluta, Wrightson, Vess, and Hampton. It was with great sadness that I had learned too late of his passing, for it was a loss to the artistic world that is felt, and will be felt for some time. One of the most memorable quotes that I read from his bio, touched a part of my artistic being:
"I would like for all of us to believe in love. Little by little, we can fight to end prejiduce and racism. Say no to violence. Happiness is always in our hearts. It is the biggest gift we have. Peace and Love, Al Rio."
Having grown up and experieced the full measure of peoples prejiduce and racism, and the violence, this touched me greatly. As an artisan, his works inspired me because they were drafted in great detail. His treatment of the female form, brilliant. His works shatter any misconceptions of those who feel fantasy artisans objectify women, for they were huntresses, warriors, heroines, as deadly as they were lovely. Capturing the wonder and mystery of the sidelong glance, the expressive lift of the head, the threatening downward nod. To me, Al Rio and his works will always mean hope, and a great appreciation for women in fantasy.
I never knew the artist, but the loss of him is felt, and the world a bit dimmer for it.