Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Dragon Con, Worldcon 2013 & Heavy Metal


I'm back in studio now from a whirlwind epic weekend of Dragon Con and Worldcon.

First, Dragon Con!

I was a panelist on two terrific programming items. The first was a discussion about artists and branding, where I was scheduled to be joined by Larry Elmore and William Stout. Was super-stoked to hear what these guys had to say on this topic. Strangely though, both were absent. :( Neither one showed up. I never heard why. Both are legends and consummate professionals, and I give them the benefit of the doubt because they are. :)

The reality was that I was faced with a big, expectant ballroom audience in front of me, and was unexpectedly carrying the entire topic all by myself. Result? The audience had a blast, and I feel like it was one of the best programming items I've given at any con ever. Grateful that everyone enjoyed it! And thank you to the excellent tech crew at Dragon Con, who was on the ball, which you can never take for granted at any convention. 'Appreciated!

Next programming stop: Kickstarter 101. I shared the stage with several luminaries of the gaming world, including Obsidian Entertainment game designer Chris Avellone and Jason Bulmahn of Paizo. Was happy to share with the audience some success tips for campaigning on Kickstarter. I learned a ton listening to my fellow panelists. It was a terrific exchange, and I thank Rucht Lilavivat for including me in my first Dragon Con gaming track event. Hope to do more in the future.

Thank you, Regina Kirby, Rachel Reeves and Jason Mitchell for everything you did for me this weekend. Dragon Con is a first-class operation all the way. If the con wants me back next year, the good news is I'll be able to give all four days to it, and attend in full because Worldcon will NOT be on the same weekend. WHEW!

Speaking of Worldcon (AKA LoneStarCon 3) -- which happened this year in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas....

Let's just cut to the chase. Because wow.....
Thank you to everyone who voted for my work in the Chesley Awards and in the Hugo Awards this year. If you wrote a Hollywood script about a fat geek schoolboy ignored by girls and in love with all things art, superhero, and sf/f from the word 'go', and that kid grew up to win his second Hugo Award in his hometown, with his parents and family in attendance, with a Hugo base designed by one of his favorite people (Vincent Villafranca) and handed to him onstage by a longtime comrade (Paul Cornell), on the same weekend he wins two Chesleys, and two days before his 44th birthday, after losing out on the Hugo seven years in a row -- c'mon......

But yeah. It happened. It really did.

Three things:

1) Stand With Texas Women. Never give up the fight for the best healthcare for all women, and for all women to possess the rights and the choices to do what's best for their bodies and lives. I said it in my Hugo speech. These have been some tough days lately in my homestate, and I want those who live outside of Texas, and within, to know that the fight for those rights does not stop until better days are achieved for all, despite the worst efforts of our state's current bureaucratic heads. I also said it in my Chesley speech when THE CREATIVE FIRE won for Best Paperback Cover Illustration (thank you to Brenda Cooper for writing this book and to the great Lou Anders for being John Coltrane). That cover art was crafted with some of my thoughts on these issues in mind, even as it serves its function as a marketing icon to sell a book product. Remember that there's never an inappropriate occasion to stand up for your fellow humans. Now is the time.

2) The Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration -- the promotional art for my "La Sirena" Loteria card won this category, and it means a great deal to me because I'm currently pouring my heart out, creating more art for the 2014 John Picacio Calendar that will feature the first twelve of my Loteria artworks. That calendar and other art rewards will be available via Kickstarter this fall. Stay tuned to my Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Lone Boy, for details soon. Thank you, ASFA.
3) The Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist -- this is my second consecutive win, and I was honored to share the nomination spotlight with Dan Dos Santos, Julie Dillon, Chris McGrath, and Vincent Chong. Before winning two Hugos in a row, I had seven straight nominations, with zero wins to show. It's a hard thing to earn a Hugo nomination, and it's even harder to win one.

The list of great sf/f artists that have never won this award in the history of the field is much longer than the list of those who have. I'm only the eleventh professional sf/f artist to have won two Hugos or more in this category (Whelan, Freas, Eggleton, Emshwiller, Giancola, Gaughan, Burns, Sternbach, Maitz, and Tan are the others), and what that means to me is I need to work even harder and become a better creative and creator. Thank you to all who made this acknowledgement possible.

The winning moment onstage fades away but it's the celebrating with friends, peers, and loved ones that lasts for a very long time. All of you. (And I'm especially looking at you, Brotherhood Without Banners.)
Congrats to all of this year's nominees and winners, and thank you again, LoneStarCon 3 and Dragon Con. I'll see you both next year in London and Atlanta!

Photo credits: Top photo is courtesy of Strangelove for Science Fiction. Please visit there to enjoy a terrific photo array from Hugo Awards Night. And thank you, Rachel Warner for the very last photo!! :)