Monday, October 19, 2015

Spectrum 23 Call For Entries

-By Arnie Fenner

The amazing Claire Wendling's Call For Entries poster for Spectrum 23.

"The incomparable Spectrum volumes have for so long now been the pinnacle of achievement in imaginative artwork, they need no encomia. Every artist with serious intent and a jot of talent aspires to inclusion, and each displays that inclusion like some Medeival prince bearing an unfurled banner. May it flutter forever."

—Harlan Ellison

Director John Fleskes has announced that the 23rd annual Spectrum competition opens today. I had posted about #23 jury last month and you can learn more about them and how to participate in the competition by visiting the official website. Call For Entries posters are going into the mail to everyone on the Spectrum mailing list (and I've started to see posts that some artists have already gotten theirs). Deadline for entries is January 25, 2016.

John also reports that Spectrum 22 has arrived (I've seen a copy and it is stunning—congratulations all selected for inclusion!) and his crackerjack staff will start to pack and mail them to artists with work included in the book later this week: Call For Entries posters will be included with each copy. They should start to show up in bookstores later in the month.

Bastien Lecoufe Deharme's cover for Spectrum 22.

There are always artists and art fans who don't know about Spectrum—and, naturally, there are new artists entering the field every year, both in the U.S. and abroad, who are new to the annual and the concept of an art competition. I gave a little background in 2014 here on MC and it's always worth visiting the Spectrum website for the mission and history, but if you'll indulge me (in light of some things I've been reading lately on social media and at a couple of blog spots), I think several points are worth repeating from my earlier post:

Everything that increases the recognition and appreciation of the artists and our field is a positive and that's precisely what John's additions have accomplished. Everything that heightens the concept of a fantastic art community has value. 
Because it is Community that's at the core of Spectrum, as it always has been, Spectrum is family. There are divisive folks who feign support for artists while simultaneously picking their pockets: that's not Spectrum. Spectrum has always given back, to the many not the select few. As I mentioned earlier with regards to the Society of Illustrators, what Spectrum has tried to do for the last twenty years [now 23] is add to the conversation, not dominate it, not to take it over. It's an attempt to bring all artists with an interest in fantastic art together, regardless of methodology or philosophy, with the goal to help broaden the market and overall appreciation for what they do. To increase networking and educational opportunities, to help provide a welcoming sense of place, without artificial class barriers, prejudice, or pretension.
There has been fussing through the years about the increase and inclusion of digital art, fussing about the trend of 'dark art,' [most recently, fussing about the idea of art awards and art annuals and even the existence of SFAL], fussing about…well, you name it, somebody has fussed about it. But that's the nature of being inclusive: not everyone is happy about everything all the time. But there's strength for our community when we're unified under a single banner; it's too easy, far too tempting, to splinter off into like-minded hives formed under specious definitions and arbitrary criteria. Spectrum's view has never wavered in [twenty-three] years: art is art and all artists are equal. It doesn't matter how they create or what they use or where they're from: Spectrum is a home.

Donato's painting heralds the new location (and new Spectrum logo)

Many of you have heard that Spectrum Fantastic Art Live will be moving it's location and dates next year. If you haven't heard, it will be in San Francisco Oct. 28-30. A new website is this close to being finished and details and information will be released in the weeks ahead. You can find out a bit about the reasons and location here. And, of course, you can follow us on Facebook for breaking news (and, yes, there will be some this week) along with all manner of other bits and pieces that are of interest to artists and which promote the entire fantastic art community.

Because Spectrum and Spectrum Fantastic Art Live are not about us: they're about you.

Quixotic Fusion's performance for the SFAL1 Awards Ceremony

We're going to continue the tradition of making the Spectrum awards ceremony a memorable night for the fantastic art community

Though SFAL5 is moving to the Fall, there are still plans afoot to hold the awards ceremony in May and incorporate the presentation with an exhibit of all the finalists. The location…will be a great one. More news as things get finalized—soon!


  1. "trade show and job fair"

    Isn' that what SDCC is now? Too bad.

    1. Nope, it'll be different. You'll have to actually attend to understand.

    2. Dear Ces. I WISH San Diego ComicCon was the trade show and job fair it used to be. A place where industry professionals can come together, exchange ideas and make serious career connections. A trade show should not be read as the negative cliche you may take it as, but rather think of it as a place where people 'of the trade' come together to conduct business in an intensive and educational manner.

      I have been attending San Diego for 17 years now, and it does not offer the same level of professional engagement and business opportunity it once did. Yes it is huge, and larger than ever each year, but as a professional, I want a show that allows me to grow artistically. It has become more difficult for San Diego to offer that when they have Fox TV shows with booths on the floor selling their entertainment products to the general public attendees rather than that space being taken by a creative studio looking to hire freelance talent. San Diego sells itself as a trade show, but it is no longer the truth.

      I know that Spectrum Live can offer what San Diego used to for the artistic professionals, and will enthusiastically be there next year in San Francisco! I hope you will give it a chance and see just how different it is from San Diego.

    3. What those guys said. I definitely don't fit the con model but Spectrum Live is one I try not to miss. Great people giving of time etc. I'll never forget the look on a young guy's face when Iain McCaig looked at his portfolio and said something like, "Well you're ready now aren't you."

  2. Just when Spectrum seemed to be as good as it could get, you guys keep making it better—better paper, better printing, more inclusive, and a more exciting public event. Can't wait to see the new website and to hear what else you've got up your sleeve.

  3. Encomia. Harlan Ellison taught me a new fancy word. Now I can try and sound smart.

  4. Donato, thank you for your response, and a thoughtful one it was too. I hope for all of you that the show doesn't turn into another SDCC. The only way that will happen though, I think, is if all of the artists impress upon Mr. Flesk that they don't want it to be another SDCC. I'm a fibre artist, and our conventions fon't include The Fox TV's, thank goodness.

    Enjoy the show, sell art, encourage young artists, and make precious contacts!