Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2012
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.)