Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Published Article: Visions of Fantasy

This is my first full article published by the Russian magazine Mir Fantastiki! It's a pretty big deal to me to actually have my writing be featured anywhere, much less in a PRINTED fantasy/sci-fi magazine! I'm transcribing it into English for your reading pleasure between bouts of extreme excitement...

Visions of Fantasy
Spectrum: Live II

What: Spectrum Fantastic Art: Live II
Explanation: A three-day celebration of fantasy artist and their creations
Where: Kansas City, M.O., USA
When: 17-19 May 2013

Turnout: Est. 2800
Website: SpectrumFantasticArt.com
Convention: Spectrum Fantastic Art: Live II

Spectrum Fantastic Art is a yearly publication that showcases the best fantasy and science fiction artist from around the world. On May 17th artists and art admirers gathered in heart of the U.S. to celebrate their latest creations with the upcoming release of Spectrum’s latest book, Spectrum 20: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. This was the second such event hosted by Spectrum and despite poor attendance at last year’s event SFAL 2 overcame this with attendance fitting of its venue. Situated in the aptly named Grand Ballroom of Bartle Hall Convention Center, the 173 exhibitors and hundreds of attendees had just enough room to avoid feeling overcrowded, giving SFAL 2 a very friendly but sophisticated atmosphere. There weren’t any people in costume, though the brochures clearly allowed for it, and the air of professionalism was further perpetuated by the number of exceedingly well dressed individuals, appearances by the occasional professional art collector, and the overwhelming presence of fantastic art everywhere one looked.

Throughout the convention art was being sold, business deals were made, commissions were discussed, young artists got their portfolios professionally critiqued by their peers, art tips were traded, and art was being made. About one in every ten artists was actively working on a painting, sketch, or sculpture at their booth, creating works right in front of the attendees. There were also a number of panels on topics relevant to starting artists, professionals, and admirers alike. For fans of Wizards of the Coast it was also one of the largest gatherings of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering artists in the world!

One of the highlights of the weekend and certainly the most important event at SFAL 2 was the Spectrum 20 Awards Ceremony. Located a few blocks away from the convention center at the historic Midland Theater (built in 1927), all questions as to why the Awards Ceremony wasn’t at the Convention Center vanished upon arrival. Bronze cherubs, glass murals, carved wood, and fine fabrics gave the immediate sense that this was truly an exclusive award ceremony to honor some of the top fantasy artists alive. The ceremony opened with a dance troupe that incorporated video, lights, costumes, and music to create an impressive display. After that the actual awards themselves were handed out and speeches were given by the winners. The evening was in full attendance and the final award, the Grand Master award, was given to the prolific artist: Brom.

In observing and speaking with the majority of the exhibitors throughout the weekend it was impressive how open and friendly the Spectrum Fantastic Art community is. It's one that not only welcomes but actively encourages newcomers into a fairly daunting industry. Most of the artists at Spectrum seemed to have an admiration for art around the world and it was enjoyable to find that many of them were familiar with Russian artists like Ivan Bilibin and Viktor Vasnetzov. SFAL 2 was definitely dominated by English speaking artists and attendees, and while a handful of artists represented France, Germany, and parts of Asia the ranks of Spectrum can only grow to encompass more artists from around the world. According to their website they'll be taking applications for more fantastic art in October.

Spectrum 2013 Grand Master: Brom signing books he’s written and illustrated
Jon Foster has worked on projects for Batman, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Magic: The Gathering

The Grand Ballroom
Lucky Stradley sculpting the body for a fish creature with a human face
Justin Sweet and Vance Kovacs both painting fantasy images at their booth throughout the weekend where each finished a piece
Tom Babbey specializes in creating fantastic creatures
Wayne Reynolds is best known for his contributions to Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and Judge Dredd.

1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome, congratulations!! I'm proud of you!