Memo to Worldcon Artists
The good news is that this year's Worldcon in Montreal is supposedly getting ready to pay its artists their Art Show revenues. The bad news is these checks were, by Worldcon's own rules, due to the artists within 60 days of the show. 60 days to pay a check is a lenient turnaround by any reasonable measure and by that standard, the artists should have been paid by mid-October. End of story. It's now mid-November and this is still not the case.
American artists were in fact mailed checks well after the 60-day period. However, those checks were drafted with questionable routing number information that were subsequently denied by many American financial institutions. A letter accompanied those checks stating that the checks provided a legitimate US routing number, when in fact, they didn't. They were effectively foreign checks that would necessitate gross collections fees and punitive processing delays of up to eight additional weeks. Not acceptable. When this was communicated to the con, its response was "the checks are fine; it must be your bank."
Wrong answer, Worldcon.
There is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Worldcon's part. Don't get that idea. However, there's plenty of evidence of miscommunication, defensiveness, finger-pointing, and he-said, she-said. I had hoped that the matter would resolve itself in a reasonable amount of time, and therefore, I originally refrained from making the matter public, out of respect to the con and its volunteers.
Here's why I decided to post this -- I'm a fan of Worldcon. As a whole, I very much like the people that run them. I want to see Worldcon live long and prosper. However, I'm first and foremost a working pro illustrator, and sf/fantasy art is my business. I don't like being screwed. I don't like being patronized, and I don't like my fellow artists being shafted. If I stay quiet about this, then I'm in effect endorsing that it's OK for this kind of behavior to occur again. I can't do that. Worldcon is better than this.
Artists -- should we continue to participate in Worldcon Art Shows? Good question. Many have already migrated to other shows that attract larger audiences, and better marketing than Worldcon affords its artists. That was certainly evident at this year's Worldcon when you looked at the artist roster. And for something like this to occur, it doesn't help future Worldcons. I chose to participate in this year's Worldcon Art Show, but I wouldn't if I knew it would treat its artists' payments this poorly. Will I participate in future ones? I'd like to hope for the best, and hope that future shows will see this, and take measures to not repeat the same.
I'm disappointed that this happened. I hate that it did. Let's hope for better days ahead, Worldcon.