Oliver Frey
Image: Oliver Frey

We're sad to report that the legendary illustrator Oli Frey has died following a battle with cancer at the age of 74.

A native of Switzerland, Frey studied at the London Film School whilst freelancing as an illustrator – the beginning of a successful career that would see him contribute to the likes of Dan Dare and The Trigan Empire. In 1983, he was part of the team which launched the legendary video game publications CRASH and Zzap!64, two of the most influential British games magazines of all time. Frey's stunning artwork adorned the covers of these mags, and he famously created emotive portraits of the staff which were used in reviews to denote displeasure or acclaim.

Frey would continue to be involved with gaming beyond the closure of Newsfield, the company behind CRASH, Zzap!64, Amtix! and The Games Machine, contributing his unique style to publications like N-Force and Sega Force for Europress. He would work as publishing director at Thalamus Publishing during the '90s, and formed Reckless Books with his partner Roger Kean, whom he also worked with at Newsfield alongside his brother, Franco Frey.

Newsfield Mags
Image: Oliver Frey

Alongside his work on video game magazines, Frey was also active in the area of gay erotic art, and in 2014, his work was included in an exhibition at the British Library.

In more recent years, Frey took an active role in the retro gaming community, working on special commissions from fans for unique portraits done in the trademark 'Zzap!64' style, and was involved with the print revivals of Zzap!64 and CRASH at Fusion Retro Books. You can read a full history of his amazing career here.

Our thoughts are with Frey's family and friends at this difficult time.

[source facebook.com]