Tuesday, November 06, 2007

World Fantasy Con, the Rest of the Days

I meant to blog each day as it happened but, as it happened, it got way too busy, too fun, and too tiring to do so. It was a great combination of meeting new people and talking to old friends -- whether they be artists, writers, or other publishers.

It certainly had one of the best art shows I’ve seen at a convention. That doesn’t happen by accident. Kudos to the art show organizers who stated a year ago that they were working for a show that would rival the Rhode Island World Fantasy. They succeeded. The exhibiting artists were all top notch and the Jeff Jones exhibit was very sweet icing on the cake. Besides the work, a highlight of the show as having many of the artists whip out sketch pads and draw throughout large portions of the day.

Unfortunately, the artist Guest of Honor, Moebius, did not not have the most impressive display. It was just a few prints that weren’t presented well. His speech, however, was charming. He would let his thoughts meander to the point where you’d wonder where on earth could he be going and then he'd pull it all together....and then wander even further out and pull it together again. He talked a lot about surrealism and action painting. He mentioned that he discovered surrealism when he was three -- that he drew his house with a chimney and smoke when their house didn't have a chimney. "I was speaking in symbols." He talked a lot about not drawing individual characters but, instead, trying to portray humanity as a character - linking into a collective symbols.

Jane Frank moderated a panel on digital versus traditional painting. It was a bit of an unfair fight, being a panel of five oil painters and no digital painters, so I threw out some devil’s advocate statements. The main thing I took issue with was an assertion that there were no young artists left and the ones that are around are not being properly trained. To the statement, “Where are the young people?" I had to say that they were all at ComicCon, which is an incredibly rich and vibrant community of artists of all media and all ages. The sf/f cons have stagnated a bit and don't seem interested in reaching out to newer artists, but that certainly doesn't mean they are not around. And as far as training goes...I’ll leave that for another post.

I moderated a panel on “What Makes a Cover Work” with Lou Anders, John Picacio, Tom Kidd, and Jacob Weisman. I was, honestly, quite nervous. The room was larger and more full than I had thought I would be but I think we did alright. Unfortunately, between being nervous, watching our time, and moderating I have no memory of what we said. Whatever it was I’m sure it was witty and insightful.

What else...

Shaun Tan got a much deserved World Fantasy Award for art. Gene Wolfe got best novel, for Solider of Sidon. Yay. And a personal favorite of mine, M. Rickert, got best anthology for Map of Dreams. Again, yay!

I heard about two sf/f illustration exhibits brewing, one in Connecticut and another in Michigan. (I hope I remembered that correctly.) Hopefully the curators for both will keep me posted.

I know I’ll regret missing someone if I do the shout-out thing but I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. I will even highlight names so that anyone that cares can skim and the rest of ya'll can stop reading:

I was thrilled to be seated next to Jane Yolen for the banquet. Hanging out with Steve Erickson and Cam (whose last name escapes me) was a blast, although they kept me up way too late. (I still say CampCon is a good idea, guys. Who wants to attend yet another panel when there are three-legged races to be run.) Thanks to Jeremy Lassen and Liz Gorinsky for late night breakies and getting me back to NYC. Lots of great talk time with Todd Lockwood, John Picacio, Lou Anders and it’s always a good day when I get to see the Vallejo/Bell/Palumbo posse. Thanks to Robert Wiener for putting together the Jones exhibit. I didn’t see enough of Charles Vess, Tom Kidd, Steve Hickman and some other folks but it was great to have some quick talks in and around other events. Vincent Villafranca is an awesome sculptor that I met at last year’s con, this year he had all new stuff, all of which I would have stolen if they didn’t weigh so damn much. As I mentioned in my earlier post, meeting Shaun Tan was a real kick. Mike Dringenberg has an awesome set of drawings for a new Firebird collection that I will look forward to.

I know I’m missing other highlights but at this point my mushy brain is barley functioning so this’ll have to do. I apologize for the fuzzy photos. My camera battery wore out and all I was left with was my crappy cell camera.


Donato Giancola drawing. Dave Palumbo, Julie Bell, and Boris Vallejo drawing.

Todd Lockwood giving a quick digital demo. Omar Rayyan showing off is paintings in the lobby.

Saratoga Springs, City of Horses.


E.C. Myers said...

Excellent! You got a picture of the super horse/centaur statue. I never got a chance to spot that one for myself.

John Picacio said...

You did a great job moderating the cover panel. A lot of folks walked up to me later and said how enjoyable it was, and that they learned from it. Sometimes hard to tell from our side of the microphones, I know.....you're making it very hard for people to tell you prefer not speaking in front of crowds. :) Anyway -- it was terrific. And geez, that was the most people I've ever seen for one of these cover panels....that was surprising, but very cool....

Anonymous said...

I hope you do an entry about training sometime soon. I just came across your blog and it's fantastic. I hope you don't mind, but it gives me an idea of what to expect before I dive into this artistic ocean. Thanks for doing this blog.

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