Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back home from WFC 2007

Saratoga Springs, NY -- largest World Fantasy Convention to date. Whew. I won't attempt to be all-inclusive about the people pleasures of this con. Too many to count. Here's a brief set:

MC'd the International Horror Guild Awards ceremony and was honored to be amongst this year's nominees. I figured since the IHG folks asked me to MC, then I was surely not going to win the IHG Artist Award, since I couldn't imagine them making me feel icky by having an MC also win an award. I was wrong. Paula Guran read that category and announced that it was a tie and Aeron Alfrey and I had both won. Congrats to Aeron, and I'm pleased to be in his creative company along with the other Artist finalists this year: Camille Rose Garcia, Chris Mars, and J.K. Potter. According to Cheryl Morgan, the ceremony took 28 tidy minutes (minus the time for Jo Fletcher and Ramsey Campbell's brilliant speeches in recognition of Ramsey's Living Legend Award). A real pleasure and an honor to be part of the whole affair, and needless to say, much celebrating with Maudite on-tap ensued that evening with my pals Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, and company. Maudite is a Belgian ale and it means "the damned one," which summed up my head the following morning. Well worth it though.

The Art Show was world-class. To date, one of the very best con art shows I've ever been associated with. Props to Ted and Bonnie Atwood, and the committee who made it happen. The list of illustrators displaying at this year's show included Moebius, Donato Giancola, Bob Eggleton, Charles Vess, Gary Lippincott, Les Edwards, Todd Lockwood, Shaun Tan, Vincent Villafranca, and a ton of other amazing folks. I've gotta single out two guys though. Robert Weiner -- Robert didn't display any paintings of his own, but he's responsible for giving the con a rare 38-painting exhibition of some of the best of the legendary Jeffrey Jones. The bulk of the works were from Robert's personal collection and it was a herculean effort on his part to do that for the con. Personally, I can't thank him enough. It was the visual highlight of the whole weekend for me. Derek Ford -- a pleasure to see this young guy's vision and abilities rapidly blossoming. He presented a fascinating set of ink drawings along with his first oil painting. Pretty courageous, that oil painting, considering the experienced competition surrounding him, but the talent and enthusiasm is oh-so-clear. Extremely pleased to see him recognized with a WFC Certificate of Merit for his drawing "Ganesh" and he was on Cloud 9 the night of the Art Show Reception, as you can see. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this guy's got a very, very bright future if he keeps trucking along. Way to go, Derek. Amongst these luminaries, I managed to hold my own with my own display. Included were a set of original pencil drawings that will appear in the upcoming Del Rey release ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS. That set of drawings won a Judges' Choice Award at the show, and I was pleased to be amongst the list of winners along with Tom Kidd, Stephen Hickman, Mike Dringenberg, and all the rest, which you can see here.

WFC is very much a professional con, but let's be honest, most of the real action happens in the bar and after-hours. Left to right (back): Jae Brim, Sophia Quach, Joe McCabe, Karen Jones; foreground: Jen Heddle. Orbit pitched a dynamite launch party on Saturday night at Tiznow's. Pictured here like two stealthy animals caught in the middle of dark dealings: Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books and Lou Anders of Pyr.I could attempt to list all of the good folks at this con if I tried, but I'd still miss way too many. Very quickly though....some folks not pictured, but equally appreciated -- Jess Nevins, Paul Cornell, George Mann and Marco Gascoigne of Solaris, Michael Rowley, David Louis Edelman, Cheryl Morgan, Rani Graff, David Anthony Durham, Jeff Ford and family, Irene Gallo, Todd Lockwood, Diana Gill, Liz Scheier, Therese Littleton, Jacob McMurray, Liza Trombi, Jim Minz, John Klima, Andy Wheeler, Ellen Datlow, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Bruce Coville, Ted Chiang, Chris Cohen, Jae Brim, Diana Rowland, Paula Guran, Steve Jones, Mike Willmoth, Beth Gwinn, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Hal Duncan, Sharyn November, Sheila Williams, Deanna Hoak, Jetse de Vries, Jeff Mariotte, Maryelizabeth Hart, and....oy, the mental list goes on, so I'll stop there. Apologies to anyone I didn't mention. Blame the Robitussin. Special thanks to Holly and Theo Black for sage advice about the childrens and YA book markets.

Congrats to all the winners of the World Fantasy Awards this year. The banquet was cause for celebration for me. Not so much for my own nomination in the Artist category, but moreso, for good friends who were first-time nominees. John Klima was nominated for his work on ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE; Scott Cupp (pictured left, with Mark Finn and his wife Cathy) was nominated for his anthology CROSS PLAINS UNIVERSE and Mark was nominated for BLOOD & THUNDER: THE LIFE OF ROBERT E. HOWARD. I was also pleased to see Greg Ketter acknowledged for the first time. None of them won, and many of my other faves didn't either (congrats to Jeff though for "Botch Town"), but the entire winners list was diverse and fabulous. Special congrats to Shaun Tan who won the World Fantasy Award in the Artist category for the second time in his career.
More photos from the festivities:
Chris Roberson and Allison Baker of MonkeyBrain Books, who as per usual, along with Lou Anders are pretty much the longest-running fixtures for me in my professional career and it's amazing that we all connected not so many years ago via the WFC. Much of the pleasure of winning the IHG Award on Thursday night was that it was a direct acknowledgement of COVER STORY: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO, which they published via MonkeyBrain. A team win shared by the three of us, as far as I'm concerned.

Left to right: Mark Kelly of Locus Online and Rome Quezada of the Science Fiction Book Club

Left to right: Paul Cornell, Lou Anders, David Louis Edelman, and yours truly. A tremendous weekend across the board. My body's still recovering. Back to drawing and painting. Onward to Calgary next year!


Blogger Steven Gilberts said...

Hi John,

It was great seeing you again. Congratulations on winning the IHG Artist Award. And congratulations for winning the Judges Choice Award for your Elric drawings. They were some of the most beautiful pencil illustrations Becky and I have ever seen.

Also, thank you once more for the positive comments you gave me on my own work. Displaying my paintings in shows such as the WFC art show is always a difficult and humbling experience for me. Kind words from professional peers such as yourself make it well worth the effort.

9:17 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Steven --

Thanks so much for the kind shout. Great to see you and your wife as always. Very appreciated. Oy....that's what I get for listing names. You were right there on the opposite side of me at the Art Show, and I neglected to mention. As I told you at the show, I loved that tall, long piece you had in the center of your display. That was an exceptional one. I think you said it was a personal piece. Is that correct, and what was the name of it? It was one of my favorite things you've done. It's right up there with your piece, Disturbing Dreams for the Curious, which you displayed at World Horror. If anyone's reading this, and wants to see more of Steven's work, check out his blog and his site:



9:44 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Congratulations! Sorry I couldn't be there to see it; WFC sounded like a blast this year.

10:40 AM  
Blogger David Louis Edelman said...

Great seeing you there, as always, man. Thanks for all the good advice and the intros to everyone in creation.

11:14 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Richard -- It was like the WFCs you've experienced, but with a lot more folks. Maybe you'll make it to Calgary, next year? Hope you're doing well over there...

Dave! It was good times, wasn't it? Glad you were there. Looked to me like you got a lot done. Hopefully we'll do it again next year....

4:38 PM  
Blogger Richard Parks said...

Going to try for Calgary; things are a little unsettled right now, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

4:42 PM  
Blogger William Lexner said...

Hey John,

It was wonderful to see you again.

The work you've done for Elric is fucking seminal. I feel weird fawning over your art when I see you, man, but any and every compliment is justified. (And your A Canticle For Leibowitz cover is still the only piece of art gracing my library.)

And you're spot on about the art show. Did you see some of those Jeffrey Jones classics? Amazing.

And just to let you know, due to overzealous cajoling by a slew of people, my blog is back, to hell with consequences. (And thanks for the kind words.)

7:04 PM  
Blogger marco said...

Hey John--

Thanks for everything.

Marco @ Solaris

4:44 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Richard -- Hope to see you there!

William -- it was great to see you and your wife again. It had been a while. Figured you hadn't disappeared completely, but I was wondering when you were gonna be back. I appreciate the kind words, re: the art. You're a tough critic, so I'm pleased the work connects. That means a lot. And further evidence you can't keep a good man down -- very happy to see your blog return by popular demand. :)

Marco -- it was a blast, wasn't it? Glad we finally met, and hopefully we'll do it again next year in Calgary. We'll be in touch in the meantime, I'm sure...

6:03 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Hey John. I'm glad we got another chance to chat in the airport, where it was relatively calm and quiet. Apropos of our comments on Frank Gehry, have you heard that he's being sued over one of his buildings?

1:31 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hey there, Ted -- Yeah, it was nice to slow down and catch up with you. I enjoyed that a lot. I hadn't heard about the Gehry story, but man, considering that guy's avant-garde designs, I'm not the bit surprised it happens. To be honest, back when I was pursuing architecture, the whole issue of lawsuits was something that always concerned me. My first internship....one of my bosses always joked that you weren't officially an architect when you passed your registration exams, but when you got your first lawsuit. Not pretty.

I couldn't access the Times article (registration log-in), but I read it elsewhere. One of the sources I read noted what I immediately thought when you sent the story -- even the great Frank Lloyd Wright was known to design buildings that had functional problems, like leaks. Falling Water is one of the great landmarks in American residential architecture, but it supposedly leaks like a sieve inside. I'm not excusing poor design or saying that it's impossible to design a beautiful, functional building that works, but geezus, lawsuits in architecture are unfortunately very commonplace....glad I'm an illustrator. :)

6:25 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Yep, I've heard that Frank Lloyd Wright once said, "Of course the roof leaks; that's how you know it's a roof."

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

Congrats on the IHG Artist award and the Judge's award for the Elric pencils, John. Both wins are really cool, but being the MC for the IHG ceremony is very cool, too. It's clear that even when you're not being nominated and winning awards, people are still thinking about you and your art in a positive manner and that's golden!

I was hoping Finn would get a win; it's been cool seeing him get some nominations lately, too.

Still, that recognition is great and it sounds like it was a blast!

4:42 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Christopher -- Thanks for the good word; I appreciate it. Hope you're doing well over there.....yeah, I was rooting hard for Finn....he's still got some more noms in him though down the road so I'm hoping he's got some wins coming in the years to come....

12:19 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Ted --

Frank Lloyd Wright: ever the diplomat, right?

12:20 PM  

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