Friday, May 25, 2012

The 2012 Hugo Award Packet / Catching up here

As fast as this last two months has zoomed by, I don't think I ever got time to acknowledge the 2012 Hugo Award nominations on my blog here.

So let's fix that right now. While I was on the road at Spectrum Live last week, the Chicon 7 admins released the 2012 Hugo Award packet. What is this? Read more here, but basically if you're a supporting or attending member of this year's Worldcon in Chicago, you can vote and decide the Hugo Award winners. And with that voting right, you get the majority of the nominated novels, stories and works as a downloadable electronic set, at no additional charge after registering for membership.

So yes -- I'm a 2012 finalist in the Best Professional Artist category, along with Stephan Martiniere, Dan Dos Santos, Bob Eggleton, and Michael Komarck. And very proud to be in their company. This is my eighth Hugo nomination, and no, I have not won one of these yet, even though I think some folks assume I have because I've been nominated eight years now. LOL Will this be the year? You folks get to decide. All I do here is work. :) Here's my body of work for the 2011 year, including the 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.

When the Hugo admins asked the artists to submit a few sample works for the packet, I included four, including the one pictured above -- Bran Stark from the aforementioned ASoIaF Calendar. Since I was traveling when the packet was released last week, I only downloaded my own copy this morning. Looking forward to seeing what my fellow pro artists sent along for their own choices.

If you haven't registered for Worldcon, now's a great time to do so, even if you can't attend in Chicago in September. Here's the complete Hugo Award nominations ballot. I still need to fill out my own ballot, so I'm grateful that the Hugo packet is finally here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2012

If you attended Spectrum Live in Kansas City this past weekend, then you know what I'm about to say. If you didn't, then this post is for you. The event was historic, and that's no overstatement. In terms of scale, scope, ambition, and quality, Spectrum Live was the most gratifying art gathering I've ever experienced. Arnie and Cathy Fenner, the founders of the Spectrum Annual, organized this (along with their dynamite team), and they should all take several bows, with encore applause.

Michael Whelan said it best -- this is the convention where the artist and the art are at the top of the pyramid. Not the author, the agent, the publisher, the movie studio, the licensed property or the high-end collector. That difference sets this event apart from others. And so does the ambition for this event -- to reach beyond art as an auxiliary feature, or art for the consumption by an exclusive few – and instead toward fantastic art of all forms for an all-inclusive audience -- a gathering of all tribes, as the Fenners stated in the event's official program book. I admire and support that ambition all the way -- from traditional, to digital, to hybrids, to 3D, and all forms and modes of fantastic art. All were welcome. All were celebrated equally, and with vigor.

It's impossible to list all of the quality conversations and encounters with amazing artists and artlovers that I had at this con. On the way out of Kansas City, I ran into Mike Mignola in the airport, and he couldn’t get over how all of the artists were so energized and had each other’s backs from booth to booth. I’ve seen that same camaraderie happen at IlluXCon, but the two events are designed for different scales, and this was intended for a much larger one. And all of this was happening in a room where arguably you had the most artistic talent and firepower in science fiction and fantasy, housed in one place.

There are larger conventions like San Diego Comic Con and Dragon*Con, but Spectrum Live cuts away all of the other trappings, and is about the art all the way. I had a blast, and I don’t know anyone who attended who didn’t feel the same. Will an event like this happen again? Time will tell. If so, I’ll be one of the first to sign up, and dream it all over again.

If you missed this year’s, and you love sf/f art – you owe it to yourself to do the same.

Shoutouts to Allen Williams, Stephan Martiniere, Eric Fortune, Joao Ruas, Lauren Panepinto, Kristina Carroll, Brom, Maria Cabardo, Bud Plant, Lauren K. Cannon, Zelda Devon, Jon Schindehette, Dan Dos Santos, Cody Tilson, Vincent Villafranca, Mike Mignola, Greg Spalenka, and Michael Whelan for meaningful, inspirational chats. And I know I'm forgetting people. So much amazing, and so many amazing people. Huge thanks to Carl Anderson, Jeff Smith, Sara Felix, Mair Daliessio, and Jimmy Simpson for helping me with my booth.

For now, here are a few photos of SFAL 2012.

(Group photo at top by Silvia Acevedo.)