The Spectrum Muse–Pictures and Story Behind The New Redesigned Spectrum Award

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The new Spectrum gold (left), grand master (center) and silver (right) awards are made of bronze and 15 inches tall on a marble base.

 

Spectrum Fantast Art announces the new redesigned Spectrum award unveiled at the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony on March 23, 2015 at the historic Folly theater in Kansas City, Missouri. The new awards are designed by Colin and Kristine Poole.

Spectrum-Awards-003The Silver Awards are bronze with a silver nitrate patina. This creates the luster of silver while still being decidedly a bronze. The flame of creation is cast in sterling silver.

The Gold Awards are bronze with a golden patina. The flame of creation is sterling silver gilded in 24K gold.

Around the base of the sculpture, inscribed text alludes to ancient cuneiform writing pressed into clay tablets and features the artists’ invocation to the Muse: ‘Sing within me Muse, Dwell in my imagination, Inspire me to bring forth my creations.’

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Spectrum Grand Master Award

 

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Spectrum Grand Master Award

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Spectrum Grand Master Award

The Grand Master Award has to be distinctive, so the sculpture has additional embellishments that are iconic to the body of the work of this year’s recipient–a nod to their unique brilliance.

All of the bronzes have a polished black marble base.

When the new director, John Fleskes, assumed his role with Spectrum 21, he began to lay the foundation to create an entirely redesigned award to further serve as an encouragement through the form of respect and support to the artists whose work is selected by the Spectrum jury for special recognition.

There is significance in both being nominated and in winning a Spectrum award. It serves as a recognition of achievement that is made even more significant when it comes from a jury of their peers. When it comes to peer awards—artists to artists—there’s a purity that adds meaning to the honor. The Spectrum award is not something that can be won; they’re earned.

“The Spectrum awards have always been about providing the artists with an award that they could call their own,” explains John Fleskes. “I wanted to hand out an award that people would hold and say, ‘this is too nice to be an award!'” With that goal in mind, Fleskes was on a secret quest during the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event in 2013 to find the perfect person to make the award. “I walked the floor and spent a significant amount of time at each of the sculptures booth to get to know the creators and get a close look at their beautiful works. Once the show was over I had seven people in mind who I knew would do an amazing job–and they had no idea! A month later, after consulting with Arnie and Cathy Fenner, we made our choice.

“The work of Colin and Kristine Poole immediately made an impression on me. The combination of sophistication, elegance, with a fine art flavor and touch upon the fantasy element made me feel confident that they would create something of a timeless and graceful nature. Plus, we had a few conversations during the show which gave me the assurance that they would be fun to work with. I wrote Colin and Kristine to inquire if they had the interest in taking on this monumental task. To my delight they were enthusiastic. They ended up pouring a tremendous amount of energy into every facet of the task for almost a year.”

“When John approached us about creating a new award for Spectrum, our answer was an unhesitating ‘not only yes, but hell yes!'” share Colin and Kristine Poole. “We’d be honored, delighted, thrilled and flat-out tickled pink!” For the Poole’s, having the opportunity to create an award that acknowledges the talent, imagination and creativity of the best of the best in fantastic art is nothing short of a dream.

“Within moments, a myriad of concepts raced around in our minds,” recalls the Poole’s. “One thing was certain, we knew from the start that we were going to go all-out with this. It had to be a bronze sculpture – after all, this is Spectrum! We’re sure if adamantium had been an option, we would’ve pushed for that!”

Fleskes gave the Poole’s carte-blanche to come up with a concept and design. “My style of art direction is very hands off,” explains Fleskes. “We began with extended discussions as we brainstorm topics and ideas to get the ‘feel’ of what we wanted. Then I turned them loose knowing that the outcome will be superior. It’s an exciting and invigorating process. I had no idea what the Poole’s would come up with, but I knew that the award would be superior. I was never concerned.”

After a series of emails and phone calls with Fleskes, the Poole’s had enough information and freedom to focus on the task at hand. A concept was born within a few weeks. “We often hear of the ‘Artist’s Muse,'” begins the Poole’s. “Of the nine muses in ancient Greek mythology, there actually wasn’t a muse for the visual arts–in those times, painters and sculptors were considered merely technicians who copied nature. Given the incredible range of imagination and creativity demonstrated by artists in this field, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create the Muse of Creation to reward their achievements.

“We submitted three mockups showing the evolution of ideas we had for the Spectrum Award. From these three different possible directions, the final choice was unanimous between John, Cathy and Arnie.

Spectrum-Awards-002“In this version, the Muse is portrayed as a classic, French-style sculpture, an elegant presence you might find on a monument in Paris – quiet, simple and direct.  She is wearing an elaborate horned headdress which can be seen either as ornamentation or as part of her being. In this rendering, the Muse is enchanted by the artist’s creation and is herself presenting an award to the artist. In her outstretched hand is the ‘flame of creation’–a three-dimensional adaptation of the Flesk Publications logo.

“Creating 17 bronzes on this scale for much less than the typical foundry bid provided us with a bit of a challenge from the beginning. The uniqueness of these awards with the combination of materials would have been cost prohibitive to hire out, but we felt it was important to have these awards be different from all others. We began problem-solving with our typical ‘jump and then figure out how to sprout wings’ approach.

“We have both worked in bronze foundries and have cast our own work start to finish–including molding, wax pouring and chasing, investing with ceramic shell, pouring the actual bronze, de-vesting and chasing the bronze and patination. Kristine’s experience with silver casting also came into play as the Muse progressed. This background in bronze and silver casting processes proved critical as we were able to take on parts of the production that were too expensive to hire others to do, parceling out the mold making and the welding/patinas to the best in their fields in Santa Fe.

“This has been an adventure–not the Bilbo Baggins type (although at times it has seemed like Orks were at the door), but more akin to Iain McCaig’s ‘Shadowline’ creatures flooding our lives and keeping us awake through the night juggling persistent and inflexible deadlines, to allow the other participants in the process the time they required to complete their parts.

“As we write this, our studio is a beehive of activity as we are in the final all-out push with the award ceremony just around the corner–our excitement grows day by day.

“One of the great things about the entire process was experiencing people’s enthusiasm to be part of the project. More often than not, when we told people about Spectrum and the award, they were more than generous with their time, expertise and facilities. An example of the typical scenario we encountered was when we approached an engraver to produce the nameplates on a tight schedule, he responded with ‘there is no way I’m not going to be part of this! Whatever you need, I’ll make it work.’ He, like so many others, was ready to dive into a challenging time frame and work with us to make all the parts come together. Throughout the entire process, John has been exceptionally supportive and encouraging–and frankly a delight to work with. We would like to express our immense gratitude to all of these people who jumped in to help and in particular, special thanks to Brad Neighbor, Chris Gugelman, Mike Massey, and Diane Tintor.”

“Beyond the recognition of individual achievement, the awards—the iconic trophy, the ceremonies, the traditions—are a celebration of us all, of the art community as a whole,” adds Spectrum founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner. “The more attention that is attained for what we do the better it is for everyone and awards—and the electricity and excitement of presentation ceremonies—are invaluable ways to grow the public’s awareness and (hopefully) appreciation of who we are. They’re educational moments.

“That was the motivation behind the Spectrum Awards ceremony as part of Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. It would have been infinitely easier—and cheaper—to give the awards out in a hotel ballroom or in the convention center, but…where’s the fun in that? Artists and their works affect our lives every day in an infinite number of ways so it only seems right that for at least one night of the year there’s a spotlight on the art community with a gala in a real theater with all the trappings.”

The Spectrum 22 awards were presented on May 23 at the historic Folly Theater in Kansas City during Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4. You can see all of the award winners for each category here.

 

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Text and photographs copyright © 2015 Flesk Publications. Videos © 2015 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2015 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Spectrum 22 Award Winners Announced!

The Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony was held in conjunction with the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Congratulations to all of the gold and silver award winners and to the Rising Star and Grand Master Award recipients!

Wylie Beckert's Colder Wind. Wylie is the recipient of the Spectrum 2015 Rising Star Award.

Wylie Beckert’s Colder Wind. Wylie is the recipient of the Spectrum 2015 Rising Star Award.

Rising Star Award — Wylie Beckert

Spectrum Fantastic Art is proud to announce the recipient of the inaugural Rising Star Award to the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. This award recognizes and acknowledges an emerging artist who demonstrates exceptional abilities and dedication in the fantastic art arena.

Scott Gustafson -- Spectrum 2015 Grand Master

Scott Gustafson — Spectrum 2015 Grand Master

Grand Master Award — Scott Gustafson

Over the nearly thirty-five years that span Scott Gustafson’s career, he has had the opportunity to fulfill commissions for a number of varied clients and publishers such as Celestial Seasonings, Playboy magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, The Bradford Exchange, Dreamworks and The Greenwich Workshop.

Some of Scott’s illustrated books include The Night Before Christmas, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, as well as two original titles, Animal Orchestra and Alphabet Soup. His book of Classic Fairy Tales, released in the fall of 2003 by The Greenwich Workshop Press, was awarded a Chesley award for best interior book illustrations from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Scott is among only two artists who have appeared in all twenty-two volumes of Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.

The Grand Master Award is decided upon by the Spectrum Fantastic Art Advisory Board each year. To be considered, an artist must (1) have a career spanning at least twenty years, (2) have achieved a level of excellence in their work that they’ve maintained throughout the course of their career, (3) have inspired other artists with their attitudes and accomplishments, and (4) still be living.

Advertising

Yuko Shimizu -- Tokyo Night Show

Silver Award: Yuko Shimizu — Tokyo Night Show

Taylor Wessling -- Barbarians: Faust

Gold Award: Taylor Wessling — Barbarians: Faust

 

  • Nominated: Johnny Dombrowski — Murder on the Orient Express
  • Nominated: Edward Kinsella III — Vernacchio
  • Nominated: Victo Ngai — The Cloisters

 

Book

Scott Gustafson -- Jack and the Sleeping Giant

Silver Award: Scott Gustafson — Jack and the Sleeping Giant

Dan dos Santos -- Taking Flight

Gold Award: Dan dos Santos — Taking Flight

 

  • Nominated: Jeffrey Alan Love — Radiant State
  • Nominated: Petar Meseldzija — The Giants are Coming
  • Nominated: Sam Weber — cover for Dune by Frank Herbert

 

Comics

Alex Alice  -- Castle in the Stars

Silver Award: Alex Alice — Castle in the Stars

Audrey Benjaminsen -- Bernadette, page 1

Gold Award: Audrey Benjaminsen — Bernadette, page 1

 

  • Nominated: Tula Lotay — Rebels
  • Nominated: David Palumbo — The Beast
  • Nominated: James Turner — Rebel Angels

 

Concept Art

Audrey Benjaminsen -- Fairy 3

Silver Award: Audrey Benjaminsen — Fairy 3

Sung Choi -- The Parade

Gold Award: Sung Choi — The Parade

 

  • Nominated: Te Hu — Wonders: Gate of Luxor
  • Nominated: Kellan Jett — Meeting
  • Nominated: Allen Williams — The Good Dog

 

Dimensional

David Silva -- Dragon vs. Raptors

Silver Award: David Silva — Dragon vs. Raptors

Forest Rogers -- Venetian Harpy

Gold Award: Forest Rogers — Venetian Harpy

 

  • Nominated: Dan Chudzinski — The Mudpuppy
  • Nominated: Mark Newman — Gallevarbe: Death’s Siren
  • Nominated: Dug Stanat — A Bird From His Brim Will Guide Your Last Breath

 

Editorial

Sam Bosma -- Critical Education

Silver Award: Sam Bosma — Critical Education

Tran Nguyen -- A Distressed Damsel

Gold Award: Tran Nguyen — A Distressed Damsel

 

  • Nominated: Jensine Eckwall — This Circle: Walking Into The Wind
  • Nominated: Edward Kinsella III — Gland Monster
  • Nominated: Victo Ngai — Cocoon

 

Institutional

Laurie Brom -- Bad Seed

Silver Award: Laurie Brom — Bad Seed

Rovina Cai -- Fake It

Gold Award: Rovina Cai — Fake It

  • Nominated: Ed Binkley — Rikshaw Pass
  • Nominated: Jeffrey Alan Love — Skyrim
  • Nominated: Jessica Shirley — The Child Sleeps

 

Unpublished

Paul Bonner -- Beowulf: Mother

Silver Award: Paul Bonner — Beowulf: Mother

Cynthia Sheppard -- Momentum

Gold Award: Cynthia Sheppard — Momentum

 

  • Nominated: Donato Giancola — Descent from Caradhras
  • Nominated: Rebecca Leveille Guay — Time and Chance
  • Nominated: Omar Rayyan — A Night at the Races

 

 

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2015 John Fleskes. Videos © 2015 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2015 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Claire Wendling Sketching Videos

Hi, everyone,

I had the opportunity to meet and film Claire Wendling on April 19, 2015. In these two videos she completes four sketches in these two videos in her new book Iguana Bay 2.0 at the Big Wow ComicFest in San Jose, California. Stuart Ng Books sponsored her appearance at the show and published this new edition of her popular art book. Visit Stuart Ng Books to order signing copies.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and noted photographs copyright © 2015 John Fleskes. Art and photographs copyright © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

Spectrum 22 Nominations Videos

Watch the Spectrum 22 nominations for the eight categories. The Gold and Silver award winners will be announced during the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony held at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on May 23, 2015. Visit spectrumfantasticartlive.com for more details.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art
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Text and photographs copyright © 2015 John Fleskes. Videos © 2015 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2015 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live This Weekend–Artists at the Flesk Booth

It’s time for some Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4 news!

The show will be in Kansas City, MO in the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom running May 22-24, 2015. The five special guests of the show are Karla Ortiz, Tim Kirk, Scott Gustafson, Donato Giancola and Julie Dillon.

In addition, the Flesk/Spectrum booth will be hosting a group of thirteen more artists: Daren Bader, Brom, Bill Carman, Frank Cho, Craig Elliott, Gary Gianni, Jim and Ruth Keegan, Aaron Lopresti, Iain McCaig, Victo Ngai, Steve Rude, Mark Schultz, plus SFAL guest Karla Ortiz.

Furthermore, there will be over 200 artists exhibiting at the show. We’re also organizing far more workshops than before. We want everyone to have the opportunity to grow, learn and to be inspired. We have top artists in the industry giving extended live presentations. These are at no additional cost to the already affordable entry cost.

You can learn more about how to attend and exhibit at “The Art Fair With a Sense of Wonder” at the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live website.

Here is a map showing where the artists can be found a the show and some information and sample art by those artists who will be at the Flesk booth. (The five special show guests are already highlighted on the SFAL site.)

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TOK-cover-webDaren Bader. For the past 20 years, Daren Bader has been an art director for the video game and entertainment industry, working with a large variety of companies, including Disney, Nintendo, and Capcom. Currently he is the Senior Art Director for Rockstar San Diego and is best known for his work on the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, which won over 150 Game of the Year awards in 2010. On the weekends, Daren is a freelance illustrator for various trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft, amassing well over 200 cards in the field. He has also done the occasional book cover, including a series of covers for fan-favorite R.A. Salvatore. Daren’s work can also be seen in 14 of the 21 Spectrum Annuals, as well as in his monographs “The Art of Daren Bader” and “one hundred drawings.”

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Bill Carman

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Art by Bill Carman

Bill Carman has worked as a designer, illustrator, and art director at universities, ad agencies, publishing houses and for large corporations. Since graduating with a BFA in visual communication/illustration and an MFA in painting he has always free-lanced and exhibited. Bill is currently a professor teaching illustration at Boise State University. He has been featured in many exhibits and publications including Society of Illustrators New York Annuals (gold medal, silver medal), 3×3 Magazine professional annual, American Illustration and Spectrum (silver medal). He is the recipient of the bronze, silver and gold medals from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education). Bill authored and illustrated a children’s book, What’s That Noise?, published in 2002 by Random House Books. Painting for exhibitions and commissions continues to be where most of Bill’s time is spent when he is not fishing.

Cho-Video-filming

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Frank Cho never had any formal training in art but taught himself to write and draw by reading art books and comics. He launched the comic strip Liberty Meadows on March 31, 1997, distributed worldwide by Creators Syndicate. From day one, the strip was a critical success, hailed for its hilarious writing and superb art. In 2002, Cho moved the hugely successful strip to Image Comics.

Impressed by his comic’s writing and art, Cho was recruited by Axel Alonso, editor-in-chief at Marvel Entertainment. Since then, he has worked on many top-tier books at Marvel, including Spider-Man, The Mighty Avengers, Hulk, X-Men, Shanna the She-Devil and Savage Wolverine.

In his spare time, Frank Cho works on video-game designs, movies and oil paintings for various art-gallery shows. He also works on his creator-owned projects, such as Guns & Dinos, Zombie King, Skyborne and the upcoming World of Payne with famed novelist Thomas Sniegoski.

Frank Cho has won many awards, including the prestigious Emmy, the National Cartoonists Society’s awards for Best Comic Book and Best Book Illustration, the Eagle Award, the Charles M. Schulz Award for Excellence in Cartooning, the Scripps-Howard Award for Best College Cartoonist, the College Media Association award for cartooning, Spain’s Haxtur Award for Best Artist, and the Max & Moritz Prize, Germany’s highest award for an international comic strip. He also was nominated for the coveted Harvey and Eisner awards.

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Craig Elliott

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Art by Craig Elliott

Craig Elliott has worked primarily for Disney and Dreamworks, designing their animated films such as Hercules, Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Treasure Planet, Enchanted, Monsters vs. Aliens, The Princess and the Frog, Rio and The Lorax. Craig has also done fully painted comic book and cover artwork. A multi-faceted artist, he is also an accomplished landscape architect, fine artist, sculptor and most recently, jewelry designer.

Flesk-Publications-Comic-Con-San-Diego-2012-101ggGary Gianni has adapted and illustrated a wide variety of books, including John Henry, Kidnapped, Moby Dick, The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, The Complete Conan of Cimmeria, and more recently, Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road. His comic’s work includes Classics Illustrated, The Shadow, and The MonsterMen. He won an Eisner Award for his illustration of Heroes, a tale included in Batman: Black and White. Gianni served as the illustrator of the Prince Valiant Sunday comic strip for nearly a decade, an endeavor which also served as the subject of his, The Prince Valiant Page.

Keegan,_Jim_and_RuthEl_BorakJim and Ruth Keegan are the creators of The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob, which appears in every issue of Conan, Solomon Kane, or Kull from Dark Horse Comics. They’ve also illustrated several books for Del Rey including Crimson Shadows and Grim LandsThe Best of Robert E. Howard, Volumes One & Two. Their work has appeared in the Spectrum annual, and has been exhibited at The Society of Illustrators in New York. al-picAaron Lopresti’s first big break came in 1993 when Publisher Dave Olbrich and Editor-in-Chief Chris Ulm hired Aaron to draw Sludge for Malibu’s new Ultraverse comic line. One thing led to another and soon Aaron had a full blown career in comics. Aaron’s career in commercial and comic art has continued on for more than 12 years. In that time Aaron has worked on a wide variety of characters including: Spiderman The X-men, The Hulk, The Avengers, Batman, Plastic Man, Green Lantern, Superboy, Xena, Star Trek, Gen 13, Mystic, and the self published Atomic Toybox (just to name a few). In 1995 he founded the successful comic art studio, Studiosaurus that lasted until 1998. Aaron lists his art influences in two categories, comic and illustration. His comic fluences are: Frazetta, Berni Wrightson, Neal Adams, Michael Golden, Steranko, Brian Bolland, and anyone else who is good. Illustrators who have influenced Aaron over the years are: Frazetta(again), James Bama, William Stout, JC Leyendecker, Brian Froud, Robert McGinnis and Chuck Jones.

Iain-McCaig-SpectrumFAL-photo

Iain McCaig

Iain-McCaig-SpectrumFAL3-art-sample

Art by Iain McCaig

Iain McCaig divides his energies between a lifelong love of storytelling, and a passionate belief that everyone in the world can learn to draw. McCaig is best known for his cover art for Jethro Tull’s Broadsword and the Beast and his Star Wars designs for Queen Amidala and Darth Maul. His other films include Interview with a Vampire, Dracula, Terminator 2, Hook, Peter Pan, Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Disney’s John Carter. He is also a Chesley nominated illustrator, having illustrated books ranging from Fighting Fantasy to J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit. Shadowline: The Art of Iain McCaig, a 28 year retrospective of his film and publishing work came out in 2008. Currently, McCaig is developing an original live-action feature film, Book of Secrets.

Spectrum-22-Call-for-Entries-FleskVicto Ngai: Forbes 30 Under (Art and Style) honoree and Society of Illustrators NY Gold Medalist Victo Ngai is a NY based illustrator from Hong Kong, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. “Victo” is not a boy nor a typo, but a nickname derived from Victoria – a leftover from the British colonization.

 Victo creates art for newspaper and magazines such as the New York Times and the New Yorker; makes books for publishers such as the Folio Society, Abrams and Tor Forge; and works on advertisement campaigns with companies like the McDonald’s, IMAX, MTA Art for Transit (New York subway), Lufthansa Airline and General Electric.
Apart from drawing, Victo’s biggest passions are traveling and eating. She’s hoping that one day she will save up enough to travel around the world and sample all kinds of cuisine.
Steve Rude

Steve Rude

Art by Steve Rude

Art by Steve Rude

Steve Rude’s career began in 1981 with his and co-creator Mike Baron’s groundbreaking Nexus comic series. This space saga catapulted Rude into the field of comics, where he became highly sought after by major publishers. During his first few years in the industry, Rude’s efforts led to numerous awards, such as the 1984 Russ Manning Newcomer Award, the Kirby Award for best artist in 1986, and numerous Eisner’s for artistic achievement. For over two decades, Rude has drawn hundreds of comic’s greatest iconic heroes, and has galvanized the art world as a comic magazine artist and illustrator.

Mark Schultz

Mark Schultz

Art by Mark Schultz

Art by Mark Schultz

Mark Schultz is a storyteller by nature as well as by profession. He could always draw and his storytelling tends to lean toward the visual, although he can cobble his ideas into words as necessary. His interests in adventure fiction and the sciences led him to create his award-winning Xenozoic Tales comic series. He has illustrated a collection of Robert E. Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria and written the science primer graphic novel The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA. Between scripting the weekly newspaper adventures of Prince Valiant and producing images for his art series collection, Carbon, he continues to chip away at the illustrations for his novella Storms at Sea.

I’ll have a few more artists announced who will be appearing at our booth as we get closer to the show date.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
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Text and noted photographs copyright © 2015 John Fleskes. Art and photographs copyright © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

Meet the Flesk Crew

Hi, everyone,

Running a book publishing business could not happen without the help of a hard working group of people. I like those who are fun to be around, are smart and have a good work ethic. The day to day tasks can be demanding, but we share the enthusiasm for what we do and can feel proud of what we accomplish.

There are three core elements to what goes on here at Flesk Publications. The first is Flesk, where our focus is making beautiful art books. The second aspect is focused on the yearly Spectrum annual. And the third area is the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event. (I wrote a separate Spectrum Fantastic Art Live post which goes into the details of that crew.) Each of the following individuals represent the Flesk crew who assist in all three of these areas.

Keith Silva is my full duty assistant. He manages the office, orders and emails. He also edits and puts together almost all of the videos that we post each week. He’s been going through all of our film archives that run back approximately 10 years, as well as taking new footage to make clips out of. He also serves as a secondary camera man when needed. Keith also helps me with book production by scanning art and by doing the first pass on the color correcting. He maps out books by following my blueprints, helps to review books for quality control prior to printing and just about anything else that I ask him to do throughout the day. He pays attention to details and works with pride.

Josh Ford is both an old-time Flesk crew member and a new one. Josh has been helping at shows for years where he has proven himself friendly and hard working. He also helps with orders, emails and the general office odds and ends needs to help keep things flowing.

James Walker has been with us since starting in 2002 by helping at the Flesk booth at events. He serves as the lead at events by setting up the booth and making sure things go smoothly.

Heather Chang, Veronica Otto, Rachel Silva and Gary Velo come in on occasion when work piles up. Good examples of this are when a new book comes out, or we are doing Kickstarter fulfillment. At times we may have hundreds of boxes to pack and ship and I always want pre-orders out the door as soon as possible so as many people get them at the same time as possible. Also, Laura West helps on occasion at Comic-Con and we are always glad to have her there.

Martin Timins is our chief copy editor. He is instrumental in raising the standard of the text within our entire line. He works with all of the artists and writers to improve their manuscripts.

Arpad Terek is new with Flesk. He is a book designer who is helping us to get caught up on the backlog of thirty books in development. Between Arpad and myself we are chipping away at the pile.

Tracy, Vineeta and Jocelyn are my secret money task force. They handle the Flesk accounting, bookkeeping and banking needs. You cannot run a business without having good people looking out for you and the money end of things.

That brings me to myself. In general I prefer praising others and pointing out their achievements. For the sake of this blog post, I’ll touch briefly upon some of the things that I do. On most days I split my attention between Flesk and Spectrum. The first thing that I do once I arrive at the office is sit down with the crew and discuss our goals for the day. I share any news that is helpful to keep them updated on what is going on in the business. I’m fairly open about everything that is going on. These are good people who I enjoy spending the day with.

Once they have their tasks and are busy working I turn my attention on what I need to do. I usually start with emails and phone calls to update or answer questions relating to books or events to make sure everyone who needs something is taken care of. This can keep me busy until lunchtime or take the full day depending on what’s going on.

On a good day I’ll get to work on whatever book project I am working on late in the day. Three that are hot on my plate are Spectrum 22, Art of Elfquest and a new Harvey Dunn book for the South Dakota Art Museum. All three are in a good place as they are being tightened up and prepared for the final design stage

It takes hundreds of hours each week to run these three aspects of the business. And with your support we will keep at it!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Meet the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Event Crew

Flesk-home-banner-29Each year, after we wrap up Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL), we like to send out a well-deserved thanks to all of the attendees, exhibitors, Spectrum 22 nominees and awards winners, speakers and special guests for making the show a success. But who is “we?” I’d like to fill you in on who the hardworking individuals are that make up the SFAL team. With the show just three weeks away I think it’s a good time to highlight the special people who are currently active in bringing you this amazing art show.

I’d like to start with Shena Wolf, who seems to be exactly where she is most needed at all times. We haven’t been able to figure out how she does this yet. As Event Organizer, Shena is in charge of guest relations, the tiny emails that keep us all up to date (yes, even all of us here), and logistics relating to a variety of important matters. She even plays a large role in organizing the panels and workshops. Shena makes sure we all show up where we need to be. She generally makes us look good. That’s not all that she does, but it gives you an idea.

Amanda Banion runs registration and makes sure everyone is armed with an SFAL badge. This guarantees that everyone who is a guest or attendee has access to all places that matter most. She also coordinates and manages the volunteers for the show. Amanda’s background in film has made her our go-to person for AV advice and an invaluable asset behind-the-scenes during the awards ceremony.

Lazuras Potter manages the show website, works on regional event promotion with galleries, radio, and TV stations, and runs the infrastructure for the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony at the Folly Theater. The awards involve weeks of preparation and is no small task; it requires meticulous planning and close work with the theater staff, the presenters, Arlo Burnett (who creates the videos for the memorials and Grand Masters), and Helpful Bear Productions (who puts together the videos of the award finalists and winners). Most people don’t see Laz, but we are all grateful to have him.

Carl Anderson and Jeff Smith are grouped together since they make quite the team in assisting with panels. Whatever the speakers need to during their panel, Carl and Jeff make sure they have it. They also write and post news items on the SFAL website and elsewhere, visit with regional schools and colleges, and network with booksellers, comic shops, and RPG retailers, all in an effort to help spread the word about the show. They are always enthusiastic and have a ready smile to great and help anyone who asks.

The volunteers! Running an event requires the help of dozens of people who can handle the many tasks to make SFAL run smoothly. No matter how small the task that they assist with, each pair of extra hands is greatly appreciated. They play a large part in making sure we all have fun!

Arnie and Cathy Fenner do everything else! The countless details needed to run a show are identified and handled by our Spectrum founders. A three day show takes months of preparation as they manage hotel and convention hall arrangements, coordinate and arrange the exhibitor booths, outline the core tasks that need to be assigned and managed, select locations, arrange for after-event happenings, secure event guests and speakers, set schedules and implement their forty years of experience in the industry to inspire and motivate us all. It would take a few thousand words to touch upon the full range of details that they coordinate. Trust me when I say it is impressive what Cathy and Arnie continue to accomplish. We learn and are inspired by them with each new day. Also, they write a lot of checks!

This brings me to myself. I spend much of my time planning out the next year for Flesk, Spectrum and SFAL. For example, the task that happens today is oftentimes something that I initially conceived of anywhere from one to three years ago, or maybe more. I plan far into the future and have more patience than most when it comes to achieving the goals that I most want to hit. I place great importance on the creative side, future growth, team and business dynamics, core infrastructure for a sound and sustainable future, working toward an improved workplace for our employees with a mindful eye on how to incorporate better pay and benefits, a sound environment to help artists and the community, plus communicating with the artists, our crew and associates on a daily basis–these are some of the areas where much of my attention goes. Oh, and I want to make sure we have a new book or two and some bonus goodies to premiere at SFAL. I also like to invite artists to fill up our booth at the show. I don’t write as many checks as the Fenner’s, but the stripe on my credit card gets a little worn out.

No single individual runs SFAL. It’s a cumulative team effort by a dynamic, passionate and energetic group who understands that what we do here is not for praise, but for the benefit of the art community. We focus on our mission of being inclusive, welcoming of all and focusing on a positive experience where people can grow and leave knowing that they have created fresh connections that will result in new lifelong friends in the industry and beyond. We take great pride in what we do. We trust that our fourth SFAL will be as enjoyable for you as we know it will be for us.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live runs from May 22-24, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for details.

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Announcing the Spectrum Rising Star Award!

Spectrum Fantastic Art is proud to announce the introduction of the Rising Star Award to the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. This award will recognize and acknowledge an emerging artist who demonstrates exceptional abilities and dedication in the fantastic art arena.

The origins of this new award began with the arrival of Colin and Kristine Poole at the 2014 Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL) event. “Last year, at our first SFAL, we had the pleasure of spending hours perusing the artists’ creations,” begins Colin and Kristine. “Not surprisingly, we found the work of the big name artists inspiring and beautiful. What we also found notably impressive and particularly striking was the work in the ‘Artists Alley.’ These emerging artists are producing works of truly remarkable merit, creating their own ways of putting the fantastic into ‘Fantastic Art.’

Colin and Kristine Poole.

Colin and Kristine Poole.

“The energy, spirit, creativity, talent and determination we experienced in our interactions with these emerging artists were so inspiring that we wished for their accomplishments and contributions to be recognized as are those of the more established artists. After a conversation with Spectrum director John Fleskes, this wish was to become a reality. We are very grateful to him for both being receptive to our thoughts and ideas and, in particular, for refining them into a much more effective form that led to the creation of the Rising Star Award.”

“When Colin and Kristine approached me about the possibility of a Rising Star award to recognize a young artist in our industry my immediate answer was a resounding ‘yes!'” shares John Fleskes. “Each year at SFAL we walk the show floor and marvel at the new artists who have just begun to work professionally. These are our future stars. To open the Spectrum award ceremonies by highlighting the efforts of a unique and fresh voice is something that I am looking forward to with great anticipation; for our youth work tirelessly to break new ground and forge the future. Let’s show them how important they are at the Spectrum awards ceremony!”

Kristine Poole working on one of her latest works.

Kristine Poole working on one of her latest works.

The Rising Star Award also intends to encourage all newcomers to stay focused on their work and persevere through the challenges they will face in building a career in the creative arts.

“Spectrum began with the goal of providing recognition to the many artists often working in anonymity whose art was overlooked because of subject matter; the intent was to help give a voice to those who weren’t being heard,” offers Arnie and Cathy Fenner. “The awards for the competition are extensions of the desire to both spotlight achievement and to elevate the public’s awareness of our field, of what we do, of who we are and what we love. Spectrum respects the past, celebrates the present, and embraces the future; the Rising Star Award, thanks to the vision and generosity of Kristine and Colin Poole and the enthusiastic leadership of John Fleskes, is a wonderful expression of ‘embracing the future’ and will help Spectrum continue its 22-year mission of discovery, recognition, and encouragement.”

Colin Poole painting The Muse.

Colin Poole painting The Muse.

“We have long enjoyed acknowledging our appreciation of people’s artwork not just verbally, but also by supporting them to make more of it–the idea for the Rising Star Award is an extension of this,” adds Colin and Kristine.

The nominees for the Rising Star Award will be chosen at SFAL on May 21 and 22 by Colin and Kristine Poole, John Fleskes, Arnie and Cathy Fenner. Furthermore, any representative selected by the Fenners and John Fleskes may also participate in the nomination selection. All artists exhibiting at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in May, and have been working professionally for approximately five years or less, and any artist who demonstrate exceptional imagination, skill and dedication to their art will be considered. From this group of nominees, the final award winner will be selected by Colin and Kristine Poole and announced at the Spectrum 22 Awards ceremony at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on May 22. This is a remarkable opportunity for emerging artists to have their work presented to the larger community and to make valuable connections and contacts.

The Spectrum 22 Rising Star Recipient will receive the Rising Star bronze award created by Colin and Kristine Poole, a one page artist feature in Spectrum 22 and a complimentary artist table provided for the next SFAL event. This will be an annual award.

John Fleskes and the Spectrum crew.

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Text copyright © 2015 Spectrum Fantastic Art. Photos © 2015 Colin and Kristine Poole. Artwork © 2015 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Support Frank Cho and House of Ruth. Let’s Make a Difference!

Frank-Cho-Drawing-Beautiful-WomenHi, everyone,

Update:

Thanks to everyone who took part in our charity drive for House of Ruth. All direct sales of Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method during the last week of April to May 1st came to $1,000.00 after we rounded it up! We’re sending a check! Follow the link to learn more about House of Ruth.

John Fleskes and the Flesk crew.

Frank Cho Website: www.apesandbabes.com
House of Ruth Maryland: www.hruth.org
Order here: http://fleskpublications.com/flesksite/index.php?route=product/category&path=18_91

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Flesk Exhibiting at Big Wow ComicFest This Weekend! Meet Frank Cho and Jim Silke!

Frank-Cho-Drawing-Beautiful-Women

Hi, everyone,

We will be exhibiting at Big Wow ComicFest this weekend in San Jose, California! Our booth number is 731. We will have our latest books including Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method and Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, plus a large batch of books with slight scuff marks or bumped corners that we will offer at huge discounts. Free postcards, posters and more are waiting for you.

Two artists who we publish are special guests of the show; Frank Cho (Drawing Beautiful Women) and Jim Silke (Jungle Girls and Jim Silke Sketchbook). We will have our unique publisher’s editions of Cho’s book with us that he can sign for you. On Sunday, Frank will be offering a free figure drawing class from 2:00 to 12:00! This is free to all attendees of the show.

We hope to see you there!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

April 2015 New Flesk Titles Update

Hi, everyone,

I don’t recall there ever being a time when I felt more passionate about making art books than right now. There’s a good reason for this. A culmination of two years of focus on redeveloping the internal structure here at Flesk, followed by moving into our new office space in the fall of 2014, the addition of more help in the office, while gaining a new book trade distribution partner (Publishers Group West) has put us in an exceptional position for growth. We are equipped with the resources, support and goodwill to make books that we can be proud of, while knowing our partners will get them into the stores worldwide. 2015 is the beginning of a whole new chapter for Flesk. And we have you, our supporters, to thank.

I would like to give you an update on the latest Flesk books that are coming out soon.

BOG-cover-webThe Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija. This book is being bound and finalized at the printer. Due to the complexity of the deluxe edition the production time is taking a little longer than usual. However, it will be worth the wait. We are still on track for a summer release.

Storms-at-Sea-by-Mark-Schultz-webStorms at Sea by Mark Schultz. The trade edition is on the press now. The proofs looked beautiful and I gave an enthusiastic approval to the printer. We will have copies in the summer.

Something to note about Storms at Sea is that we will be producing a deluxe edition in a larger format. Mark and I have already determined all of the extra components that we wish to include.  I am currently checking with various printers to find one who can do the specialized work I’m looking for. I have no schedule for this yet, although I’m aiming for the end of this year.

TOK-cover-webTribes of Kai by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue. All of the art and writing is complete. We are currently in the design stages. Thanks to the generosity of our backers who supported our pre-order campaign using Kickstarter we are adding a number of upgrades to the deluxe edition. We plan on turning these in to the printer in early May. We also have a second complementary book Pridelands that will be limited to 500 copies. I’ll have these listed on the Flesk website soon with the full details. These will be available in late summer.

Art-of-Elfquest-webThe Art of Elfquest with art by Wendy Pini and text by Richard and Wendy Pini. This is in of the most exciting books that I’ve worked on. Elfquest is one of the first comics that I read in the mid-eighties and helped set the stage for my passion for great independent storytelling. I absolutely adore Richard and Wendy and have put a lot of pressure on myself to get this book right. It’s scheduled for this fall.

Mark-Schultz-Portfolio-Complete-webPortfolio by Mark Schultz. This large format book is at the printer. It’s a complete collection of the five Various Drawings books, along with some new art. Mark wrote many new captions throughout as well. We ended up reviewing all of the originals and bringing them up to our current standards by doing slight adjustments to all of the art. I’ll be reviewing the proofs on Monday. This is also slated for summer.

Bruce Timm. We are working on a new show book with an increased page count and size compared to the previous three show books. It’s a whole new look that we are having a blast putting together. I’ll show off the cover, title name and details next month.

carman-cover-webImagery from the Bird’s Home: The Art of Bill Carman. I’ve been wanted to work with Bill ever since I first met him when we were both judges for Spectrum 17. Bill is designing this book himself and it looks gorgeous. Our new distributor, PGW, informed us that they love the cover and sample pages so much that they are highlighting it on their catalog cover. Bill is wrapping up the final spreads. We are aiming for a delivery date to the printer in early May.

Spectrum-22-cover_webSpectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art 22. With Spectrum 21 under my belt I fully realize how much work this is to design and write. (A ton!) July 1st is my due date to have it to the printer. Fortunately, I’ve already written most of the 2014 year in review. (I’ve even written part of the year in review for Spectrum 23.) I’ve learned to write portions each month, rather than write it all at once at the end of the year. I have some news ideas that I will be implementing to the chapter headers.

Nexus-Chronicles-cover-webThe Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude. This book is a hair width away from being done. Steve is providing some commentary and once this goes in the book we will send it off to the printer. We’ve collected a batch of our favorite stories direct from the original art.

Beyond these titles, we are working on the new Harvey Dunn book for the South Dakota Art Museum and I’m already building our list for 2016-2018. (There are roughly 30 books that I have my hands in.)

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Tribes of Kai Pre-Order Event Ends Friday

Hi, all,

We are down to our final week of the Tribes of Kai pre-order event on Kickstarter. We’ve just added a fifth stretch goal: We will include a second bonus print if we reach our goal. This 8 x 10 inch print will feature a new Tribes of Kai painting by Daren Bader with every Kickstarter pledge. Visit our campaign page to see all of the bonus items and upgrades that have been added thanks to our supporters. Ends this Friday!

Bader-deluxePntgREV2

Here’s a list of everything that has been upgraded and offered thanks to our supporters so far!

1. All books shipped to an address in the U.S.A. receive free shipping by USPS Postal Service Media Mail with tracking.

2. Bonus print. We will include an 8 x 10 inch print featuring a painting by Daren Bader with every Kickstarter pledge.

Stretch Goal #1 Unlocked: We will add a slipcase to the Tribes of Kai deluxe edition!

Stretch Goal #2 Unlocked: We will increase the dimensions of the Pridelands collection from 5.5 x 8.5 in. to 8.5 x 11 in.! The cover price will remain the same at only $10.00.

Stretch Goal #3 Unlocked: We will upgrade the binding of the Tribes of Kai deluxe edition to a fancy fabric material, and have an onlaid art plate set onto the center of the cover, as well as special title stamping!

Stretch Goal #4 Unlocked: We will upgrade Pridelands from a saddle-stich (staple) binding to a sewn perfect binding (paperback book with a spine) and add an additional 16 pages with the script and additional notes written by Lance HaunRogue. That makes it a 48-page, 8.5 x 11 inch book for only $10.00!

Thanks, everyone!

John

John Fleskes

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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

New Videos: Justin Gerard, Steve Rude, Tribes of Kai and SFAL!

Hi, all,

We’ve been hard at work on a series of new books. I will post a fresh update on all Flesk fall releases soon. In the meantime, please enjoy our latest videos.

Interview with Justin Gerard during the Spectrum 22 judging event. Justin talks about his latest book projects and gallery events, working with his wife Annie Stegg Gerard, his influences and about Spectrum. This was filmed at the Flesk offices on February 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz, California.

Steve Rude visited our Flesk offices in Santa Cruz, California on February 19th to work with us on his new book, The Nexus Chronicles. This new collection assembles eight of Steve’s favorite Nexus creations scanned direct from the original art. This 304 page book comes out this fall. For now, you can watch Steve provide a drawing demonstration of Nexus in his sketchbook.

A simple spark sets in motion a power struggle ablaze in conflict. Fully painted by Daren Bader and written by Lance HaunRogue! Tribes of Kai is an oversized, full-color hardbound book boasting sixty exciting pages of story and pinups by top creators including Frank Cho, Dave Palumbo, plus Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo. Trade and Deluxe Limited editions will be available in August, 2015 from Flesk Publications. Pre-order through the Flesk Kickstarter campaign and get free bonus items.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live runs May 22-24th, 2015 at the Kansas City Convention Center, Kansas City, MO. For full details and to purchase tickets visit: spectrumfantasticartlive.com

Be a part of Spectrum Fantastic Art Live by attending this event that celebrates the fantastic art and its creators. SFAL is a fantasy-focused art fair, in which creators can display, share and sell originals, prints, sculpture, crafts, toys and more to an audience of fans and peers. There is something for everything, including presentations, panels, displays, portfolio reviews, workshops, educational opportunities and the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony. In short, our goal is to honor the artists and put on a fantasy art convention that anyone is welcome to attend.

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

“Tribes of Kai” by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue Kickstarter Pre-Order Event Now Live!

TOK-cover-webYou can always count on us being deep into a new project. This time around it’s the fully painted new graphic novel Tribes of Kai by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue. We are using Kickstarter to take pre-orders for Tribes of Kai. On offer are some sweet bonus items for ordering in advance. For instance, there will be a limited number of copies available that Daren will be doing drawings in.

Here’s the live link: Click here to visit the Tribes of Kai Kickstarter pre-order event website.

About Tribes of Kai

The Mantakai prepare for a ritualistic rite of passage in which a new lord is to be chosen to rule over their five united tribes. The Tribes of Kai is a multi-layered graphic novel about honor, integrity and the trappings of war in which extreme circumstances call for unbridled decisions and finding the strength to cope with them. This is a barbaric and primitive world where the survival of the fittest is put to the test.

Artist Daren Bader and writer Lance HaunRogue bring this world to life with lush detail and an incredible sense of pace, color and lighting. They introduce the Mantakai (Man of Kai), a race of six-limbed, feline/humanoid, anthropomorphic creatures. The dominance of the five individual tribes of Mantakai are threatened by a highly evolved race of reptilian creatures called the Tobognai.

Tribes of Kai is an oversized, full-color hardbound book boasting sixty exciting pages of story and pinups by top creators.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Spectrum 22 Cover Revealed!

Spectrum-22-cover_webOne of the responsibilities as the editor of Spectrum is to select the artwork for use on the annual’s cover. Our book distributor works far in advance which requires us to provide the full specifications, book description and cover art up to 10 months prior to its street date. Before the arrival of the jury I spent two days reviewing all of the submissions and marking possible images to use as the cover art. I then made a series of mock up covers to fine tune the selection down to the one. Even though I am working in advance, the artwork must have been selected by the jury to be used on the cover. After checking the results immediately after the judging process I was assured that the artwork I selected for the cover was accepted by the jury and therefore available to send to the distributor and share with the public.

The artwork is by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. “The Magician of the Mountain of Death” immediately grabbed my attention. Its beauty, boldness and elegance capture the essence of Spectrum perfectly. Bastien has been painting engaging and dynamic works for years now. I’m pleased to have his work featured on the cover and grateful to him for submitting his work again this year. You can visit Bastien’s website here.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

“Spectrum 22: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art” Award Nominations!

The Spectrum 22 jury has nominated the top five artist works in each of the eight categories for a silver and gold award. Justin Gerard, Virginie Ropars, Greg Ruth, Annie Stegg Gerard and Dice Tsutsumi went late into the evening on Saturday, February 28 as they discussed the merits of hundreds of pieces of art before finalizing this list. The winners will be announced at the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony held in conjunction with the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday, May 23 2015. Congratulations to all of the artists who have been considered!

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Johnny Dombrowski -- Murder on the Orient Express

Johnny Dombrowski — Murder on the Orient Express

Edward Kinsella III -- Vernacchio

Edward Kinsella III — Vernacchio

Victo Ngai -- The Cloisters

Victo Ngai — The Cloisters

Yuko Shimizu -- Tokyo Night Show

Yuko Shimizu — Tokyo Night Show

Taylor Wessling -- Barbarians: Faust

Taylor Wessling — Barbarians: Faust

Book

Dan dos Santos -- Taking Flight

Dan dos Santos — Taking Flight

Scott Gustafson -- Jack and the Sleeping Giant

Scott Gustafson — Jack and the Sleeping Giant

Jeffrey Alan Love -- Radiant State

Jeffrey Alan Love — Radiant State

Petar Meseldzija -- The Giants are Coming

Petar Meseldzija — The Giants are Coming

Sam Weber -- cover for Dune by Frank Herbert

Sam Weber — cover for Dune by Frank Herbert

Comics

Alex Alice  -- Castle in the Stars

Alex Alice — Castle in the Stars

Audrey Benjaminsen -- Bernadette, page 1

Audrey Benjaminsen — Bernadette, page 1

Tula Lotay -- Rebels

Tula Lotay — Rebels

David Palumbo -- The Beast

David Palumbo — The Beast

James Turner -- Rebel Angels

James Turner — Rebel Angels

Concept Art

Audrey Benjaminsen -- Fairy 3

Audrey Benjaminsen — Fairy 3

Sung Choi -- The Parade

Sung Choi — The Parade

Te Hu -- Wonders: Gate of Luxor

Te Hu — Wonders: Gate of Luxor

Kellan Jett -- Meeting

Kellan Jett — Meeting

Allen Williams -- The Good Dog

Allen Williams — The Good Dog

Dimensional

Dan Chudzinski -- The Mudpuppy

Dan Chudzinski — The Mudpuppy

Mark Newman -- Gallevarbe: Death's Siren

Mark Newman — Gallevarbe: Death’s Siren

Forest Rogers -- Venetian Harpy

Forest Rogers — Venetian Harpy

David Silva -- Dragon vs. Raptors

David Silva — Dragon vs. Raptors

Dug Stanat -- A Bird From His Brim Will Guide Your Last Breath

Dug Stanat — A Bird From His Brim Will Guide Your Last Breath

Editorial

Sam Bosma -- Critical Education

Sam Bosma — Critical Education

Jensine Eckwall -- This Circle: Walking Into The Wind

Jensine Eckwall — This Circle: Walking Into The Wind

Edward Kinsella III -- Gland Monster

Edward Kinsella III — Gland Monster

Victo Ngai -- Cocoon

Victo Ngai — Cocoon

Tran Nguyen -- A Distressed Damsel

Tran Nguyen — A Distressed Damsel

Institutional

Ed Binkley -- Rikshaw Pass

Ed Binkley — Rikshaw Pass

Laurie Brom -- Bad Seed

Laurie Brom — Bad Seed

Rovina Cai -- Fake It

Rovina Cai — Fake It

Jeffrey Alan Love -- Skyrim

Jeffrey Alan Love — Skyrim

Jessica Shirley -- The Child Sleeps

Jessica Shirley — The Child Sleeps

Unpublished

Paul Bonner -- Beowulf: Mother

Paul Bonner — Beowulf: Mother

Donato Giancola -- Descent from Caradhras

Donato Giancola — Descent from Caradhras

Rebecca Leveille Guay -- Time and Chance

Rebecca Leveille Guay — Time and Chance

Omar Rayyan - A Night at the Races

Omar Rayyan – A Night at the Races

Cynthia Sheppard -- Momentum

Cynthia Sheppard — Momentum

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Spectrum 22 Judging Event Pictures and Videos, Saturday February 28, 2015!

s22-juryHi, all,

The Spectrum 22 jury is reviewing the call for entries submissions today! Justin Gerard, Virginie Ropars, Greg Ruth, Annie Stegg Gerard and Dice Tsutsumi are casting their votes for the works that will be included in Spectrum 22. Check back here throughout the day for photographs and videos!

Interview with Dice Tsutsumi during the Spectrum 22 judging event. This was filmed at the Flesk offices on February 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz, California.

S22-judging-event-003

Greg Ruth.

S22-judging-event-004

Justin Gerard and Annie Stegg Gerard.

S22-judging-event-005Virginie Ropars.

S22-judging-event-006Dice Tsutsumi.

S22-judging-event-007 S22-judging-event-008S22-judging-event-009 S22-judging-event-010 S22-judging-event-011S22-judging-event-012

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Flesk and Spectrum February 2015 New Titles Update

“Do people still buy books?”

“That’s got to be a tough business to be in.”

These are variations on the type of responses that I receive when I tell people that I am art book publisher. My usual reply is that this is the best time ever to be a publisher. I believe this to be true. We are here in this moment, making books that we are passionate about and eager to share. We get to celebrate individuals and the community. We are fortunate indeed.

Here’s a list of future Flesk books with the latest update on each.

BOG-cover

1. The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija: This book is at the printer and moving along well. As soon as we have a shipping schedule I’ll announce the estimated arrival date.

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

2. Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz: The trade edition is with the printer. We are awaiting the proofs to review and approve prior to going on the press. The deluxe edition will be sent to the printer soon. This limited edition will come in a larger deluxe format. More details on the special version coming soon.

Mark-Schultz-Portfolio-Complete3. Portfolio: The Complete Various Drawings by Mark Schultz: Schultz is writing many new captions and a new introduction. The book is designed, with the exception of the text needing to be placed. It will go to the printer next month sometime.

TOK-cover-web4. The Tribes of Kai by Lance Haunrogue and Daren Bader: Daren has finished the artwork and Lance has finalized the story. We are in the design stages now and plan on sending this to the printer on April 1st. A Kickstarter campaign for pre-orders with bonus items is planned for a March 9th launch date.

5. Harvey Dunn: Where Your Heart Is…: A modern reprint of the definitive biography on Dunn. I am packaging this book for the South Dakota Art Museum. It features all new scanned art and photographs for a premier collection. This has turned into a huge task, however the book will be amazing once complete.

6. Bruce Timm: New! We are working on a new Bruce Timm collection for this summer! You’ll have to wait until next month for more news on this one. I can assure you that you’ll love it.

Nexus-Chronicles-cover-web7. The Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude: Steve Rude visited us last week for three days as we wrapped up the book design. We have a few pages of writing to finish and we are looking for a few missing pieces of art. Once these final elements are in place we can send it to the printer. We hand-picked our favorite Nexus stories which are reproduced from the original pencils or inks, or both!

Art-of-Elfquest-web8. The Art of Elfquest with text by Richard and Wendy Pini: We had a wonderful time having Richard and Wendy here with us for two days recently as we reviewed and expanded the book. I can’t wait to get this book out this fall.

carman-cover-web9. Imagery from the Bird’s Home: The Art of Bill Carman. Bill is designing the book using his typical flair and unique approach. The designed spreads so far have been gorgeous. Another book I’m proud to publish this fall.

10. Spectrum 22: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art: The judging event is this Saturday! Soon after we will tally the votes and present the list of those artists who have been selected for inclusion into this year’s “best of the best” collection. We will also be announcing the five nominees for consideration for a silver and gold award. The winners will be announced at the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City, MO on May 23, 2015.

Watch for new videos and pictures this Saturday relating the Spectrum 22 judging event!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
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Spectrum Fantastic Art
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Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Jeffrey Alan Love Overview and Biography Videos

Jeffrey Alan Love visited the Flesk offices on January 21, 2015 in Santa Cruz, CA. He brought a few dozen of his latest originals to share with us including assignments done for Tor, pages from his personal unpublished graphic novel and more. This video captures Jeff as he gives us an overview of his latest works.

In this second video, Jeff opens up about his past and how he went from an unknown new artist to becoming someone who is constantly in demand by clients such as Tor. Jeff shares his philosophy about art while giving us insight into his unique and highly individualized work.

Thanks to Jeff for visiting and we hope you enjoy these videos!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Thank You!

Hi, all,

Monday was a long and exciting day. I want to thank all of the artists who have submitted their artwork to Spectrum 22. We can’t wait to show these submissions to the jury. Spectrum 22 is already shaping up to be spectacular. I’ll be keeping everyone up to date on the process here on my blog and on our various websites. Thanks again. More details are coming soon.

John

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. All Rights reserved.

The Deadline for entries to Spectrum 22 is Today!

kc

Today is the deadline to submit to Spectrum 22! Each volume is only as good—as representative of our field & community—as the artists who take part. Show everyone that the class of 22 is the best yet! Join in!

Enter here!

Reminder: If you have any questions or if you need help with anything feel free to email us at info@fleskpublications.com or call at 408-206-2346 and we can help! We are here most of the day on Sunday and all day and night on Monday.

All mail entries need to be postmarked by the 26th. All digital entries need to be posted prior to midnight on Monday night. (Pacific Standard Time). The online portal will be turned off once Tuesday hits.

Thanks everyone!

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. All Rights reserved.

Wendy and Richard Pini Visit Flesk! The Art of Elfquest Coming This Fall!

Flesk-wendy-richard-piniI had a great time with Wendy and Richard Pini for two days last week! They honored us by visiting our Flesk offices in Santa Cruz where we enjoyed a series of extended working sessions reviewing The Art of Elfquest together. This picture shows myself talking with Wendy and Richard about some book ideas. After a few years of research and planning the book is on track for a fall 2015 release! I’ll post the cover soon!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Spectrum 22 Submission Tips. The Call for Entries Deadline is Monday, January 26th!

Flesk-home-banner-27Hi, all,

With the Call for Entries for Spectrum 22 ending on Monday, January 26th I have written a series of submission tips. You can submit by mail or online! All artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible. There is no unacceptable way to create art. Imagination and skill are what matters. Work chosen by the jury will be printed in full color in the Spectrum annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts.

(Spectrum submission link)

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #1

Is there an advantage to entering my art online or by mail as a print?

The important thing to know right off the bat is that one option does not give you an edge over the other option. Both digital and print submissions get equal attention from the judges and you have an equal chance of getting selected regardless of how you enter.

For Spectrum 21, eighty percent of the submissions came in online. Out of curiosity I paid attention to the percentage of art that was selected in both the digital and print areas to see if one had an advantage over the other. They were both right in line with one another. One method did not visibly outweigh the other.

The jury views the digitally submitted art on individual 24″ screens (not projected to the group) and the prints are presented on tables. Each jury member votes anonymously and at his or her own pace. Discussion and grouping is discouraged (with the exception of the awards selections) to keep the selection process fair and truthful. To get into Spectrum you need three or more of the five jury member’s votes. It’s not easy to get in. Historically around eight to nine percent of the submissions make it into the yearly annual.

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #2

Give Yourself the Best Chance to be Seen!

Take advantage of the artwork submission guidelines by submitting good quality prints or digital files. We can’t stress this enough. We want everyone to have the best chance to be seen by the jury.

If you are submitting online take advantage of our maximum size at 2000 pixels wide and/or 2000 pixels tall. (JPG file no larger than 10MB.) Each jury member uses his or her own large screen when viewing the artwork. Make sure your art fills the screen so they can take a good look at it! Don’t send in a small postcard sized thumbnail. Take the time to prepare a proper presentation.

For submissions by mail, I recommend sending in a print out of your art no smaller than 8.5″ x 11″ and no larger than 18″ x 24″. I think the best sizes range from 9″ x 12″ to 11″ x 17″. Yes, some people send in massive poster sized images. It’s just too big. Just like art displayed too small can make it hard for the jury members to view, art too big doesn’t necessarily mean you have a better chance. The print submissions are placed out on tables for the jury members to view and vote for individually.

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #3

Dimensional Category Allows Three Views!

Anyone submitting to the Dimensional category is allowed to submit up to three views. If you are submitting a sculpture we recommend a full shot from the front, a side view and a back view or detail. We want the jury to see these multiple angles of your work so that they have adequate visual information to base their decisions. This is especially important if your art is considered for an award.

Another tip for this category is our recommendation to get a clear, in focus, quality photographs. Don’t take simple, quick snaps with your phone. If you do not have a good camera then take the extra time to find someone who does, light your piece well and make sure the details are visible in the pictures that you send us.

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #4

Does my artwork have to be fantasy related to submit to Spectrum?

Yes: Spectrum’s focus is on “Fantastic Art.” HOWEVER keep in mind that focus covers a sweeping range of possibilities. Fantastic Art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: Fantastic Art chronicles places and peoples and creatures and events that aren’t or never were. Just as there is no unacceptable way to create art, there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Spectrum doesn’t define Fantastic Art: what YOU do and what the JURY selects does. We do not pre-screen submissions and we do not arbitrarily restrict the type of art that is submitted. We make sure every submission is viewed with fairness and an open mind by the jury. We embrace all art works in all mediums embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror, the surreal, fine art and more. Each type (and types that we may not have even thought of) is eligible for this show.

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #5

How do I know that my submission arrived?

We take great care in reviewing the details of every submission that arrives. For online entries we check your online form and artwork to make sure your name, the art title and all other relevant details match. Once this is done we send an official email confirmation to notify you that your submission has been accepted. For submissions that arrive as prints in the mail, once you see that your payment has been processed you can rest assured that we have processed your submissions.

If we have any questions or if any art is missing we will contact you by email or by phone. We take great care in making sure all submissions look their best for the jury.

Spectrum 22 Call for Entries Submissions Tip #6

What is the #1 mistake people make when submitting online?

Not labeling their art when posting it. A small percentage of people do not include their name or art title when uploading their art. In this case we send an email asking for clarification or new art files properly labeled. Please label your art by first and last name followed by the art title!

Click here for more details and to submit.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork © 2014 Victo Ngai. All Rights reserved.

 

New Frank Cho Drawing Video!

Hi, all,

Here is a pair of new videos. As a reminder, we get a new video posted every Tuesday on our Spectrum Fantastic Art website.

The first video is a time-lapse of Frank Cho working on a section of a large battle drawing that was used as a gatefold in Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. I filmed this while visiting Frank in his studio in June of 2015. We were wrapping up the book at the time. While Frank was drawing I was scanning art and designing portions of the book for Frank to review. It was a fun week. (Order the book here.)

This second video is our online promotional video for The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija. Petar spent a year writing and drawing this book. It came out amazing. We’re working with the printer now to get this book printed. (Pre-order it here.)


Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

Flesk Publications
Flesk Publications on Facebook
Spectrum Fantastic Art
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live on Facebook

Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Bill Carman Painting Video and Candid Interview!

In July 2011 I took a stroll around our neighbors booths at Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA and came across Bill Carman painting at his booth. I had my camera with me, and started filming over Bill’s shoulder while asking him some questions. This video and candid interview is the result. Enjoy!

Bill:  One of the hardest things to do is get food while you’re at the convention y’know?

Flesk:  I do know.

Bill: I can’t go for too long because I don’t want to leave you watching my painting forever.

Flesk: I’ve not quite seen someone use their hand that way before.

B: One of the reasons I stopped using oil paint as much as I used to is because I would start to do the same thing to oil paint and that’s a bad thing.

F: What are you using there?

B: Acrylic.

F: I see.

B: I picked up this habit from James Christensen.

F: Oh, alright.

B: Do you know his work?

F: Yes.

B: He was my teacher. Teacher, mentor, now friend. He would tap it with his finger. I do it a lot with my hand like this because my fingerprints tend to show up too much. But he got me into that habit. I love this part of finding the texture. It’s like a game, finding and building up texture in the right places, dancing around. It’s very fun for me. I do very random things and then get focused in areas.

F: What are you painting on?

B: This is alder.

F: Do you buy those and cut them yourself?

B: I usually work pretty small so I can find a lot of it for free. Alder is a really nice wood. It’s soft enough and pliable with a tight enough grain so there’s really not a problem with excessive grain texture.

F: You really move around when you’re painting

B: Yeah, I do. There are a couple reasons for it: One, it’s just a habit I’ve gotten into. The other is the balance; seeing value so I can sort of step back, see what I’ve done then balance value out in other areas. For me it’s more exciting that way. There are people who can just focus on one thing for so long. Donato seems to have a very systematic approach when he paints. It’s really hard for me to work that way. He’s adapted over the years though. Early on his demos were different, the things that he would show on his site, the steps and stuff. It almost seemed that he would start in one corner and work all the way out methodically. Now he seems to move around a little more.

F: Do you use rough sketches and work things up, or is it all in your head?

B: It depends. This one, I sketched for the composition, finding where the shapes would go.

It started as a very rough sketch and changed tremendously from start to finish. It’s one of the things I enjoy talking to Rick Berry about. He works in a very similar way, just sort of responds, makes marks, responds and builds. I relate to that. For me it’s just more exciting working that way than having to plan it and sketch it out. Of course I plan and sketch for illustration and specific projects, working with an art director, but this way can be more exciting, the unknown. There is a fear that things can go wrong and I’ll never be able to dig myself out of the hole. Exciting.

F: Do you ever think about how different a piece would look, say if you were drawing now, and if you stopped for ten minutes and you talk to someone and you start it up again. Could that change the whole look of a certain area of a piece?

B: Oh yeah, I could certainly focus in a different way. It would be great to have several different realities working, changing as they progress. Distracting myself then seeing what happens when I return. These are still the stages where I’m building and responding to texture. And I love these stages, but once I’ve sort of established what the look will be, the texture and everything, then I … I’ve got to show you the brush I work with. [bends down to search for brush. It’s not as small as you’d think but it’s pretty small.] So when I get to a point like this I start to do the massaging. It’s this wonderful hypnotic process of building up mark, marks that start to blend together because of so many layers. I smooth things according to my dialog with the piece.. but I make the smallest marks with this, so I can fill in and get it perfectly smooth or I can leave textured areas. I go in to these darker spots between the white I wipe them out if I want an area really smooth. I’ve developed to the point where I can feel those, and get a perfectly smooth area if I want to. I guess I’ve done it enough that I can work pretty fast at it too.

F: You’re obviously comfortable working around people and with noise.

B: I’ve got a house full of people at home. I’m used to hearing somebody yell “Dad!”,
“Bill!” Breaking up the fighting dogs or any number of other things [laughs].

F: Do you think it helps in some way? If it was perfectly quiet do you think it would change things?

B:  Oh, I don’t know. I can work when it’s quiet too. I think it can help. But I think we have to learn to focus and adapt to our environment. I love being able to work at home, even with the distractions.

F: What tools do you use?

B: A bristle or watercolor brush like this to make texture and mix color. I have to add just the right amount of water to it and it’s sort of this bubbling affect, you see that?

F: Oh, yeah.

B: So I can just sort of scrub like that and it’ll leave, depending on what I do with the brush, different kinds of texture.

F: With my not being and artist, I look at that and it looks like you just messed it up. It looks scary. You painted right over your fish!

B: Oh yeah, risk is a big key. No discovery without it. See, all this stuff here will be painted over again with color.

F: Ah, ok.

B: That’s how I get color, by glazing the color into the value work. And yeah, people are horrified because I’ll work hours and hours to get all this built up with value and I’ll take one color and I’ll just wash over the whole thing. My students go ‘Ahhh!’ when I do that, and it just sort of freaks them out. But it ties things together and makes sense when I work on it more and start pulling things out again. It’s a pretty amazing process.

Maybe it’s less a painting process. There were a lot of true painters throughout history but there are also contemporary artists who are true painters. Guys like Phil Hale, Greg Manchess, they’re real painters. They have a feel for paint, a relationship with it. They put down a mark, they mix color, put colors next to each other. And for me this is all about… It’s almost like I draw with paint. It’s all about exploration with color and I never know quite what I’ll get. I can control it to the point of getting exactly what I want, but that can be really boring to me. So I push things, I wreck things and I bring them back out again. That’s exciting to me, I love that! I’ve never considered myself a true painter. Guys like Petar Meseldzija, he’s just a true painter, just has this, this mystical, almost, relationship with paint. His brush strokes and the way he puts paint down. I’m telling you, he’s got a spiritual relationship, built up from experience, with paint. I’m looking forward to meeting him. I feel like we’ve got this kindred spirit thing going. We work very differently but I think he’s a great painter. So I draw with paint, he paints with paint. That’s fine with me. I love drawing.
[He leans back to view his piece.]

F: I want to see what you’re going to do with this!

B: You see, at different stages, I can let this dry and the dark areas will stay dark or when it’s almost dry I can do this watch. [presses palm to surface]

F: Oh yeah!

B: See how it lifts it out and it causes a different kind of texture? The bubbling thing? And then comes the stage where I refine texture. I’ll show people techniques to make textures and they leave it at that. It usually looks a mess. But here is where I’ll come in and start to dance around the texture. Give it a peak like this and edge like that, so it looks like the light is coming from the top. When I don’t like some of it I cover it up. If it’s too much texture I’ll paint over it, but it’ll still show through you see? So there are all these decisions I’m making on the fly without really thinking about it. This is what I call “The Dance”, the discovering texture dance. It’s one of the most satisfying parts of what I do. Acrylic is so much about getting the right consistency of paint. If there’s too much water it gets watery like this and puddles around. Too little water it’s too thick. So getting it to the right consistency for the right stage is really important. This is where many people won’t have the patience. They say, “That’s what you do? Ok, I’ll work another way.”

F: So you’re doing this building effect, when there’s a perception that you’re doing it all in one layer.

B: Right, it’s layer after layer giving me the edges and sort of a deep quality to the flatness. I’ve had people call it ‘flatround.’ Not sure how many people are working this way.

F: I’ve never seen anything like it. James Christensen, he taught you the approach of using the hand, was it also the layering that he taught you?

B: Yeah. I mean this is sort of a bastardization of the old masters’ way of working, artists like Van Eyck. Northern renaissance artists would build up a grisaille, a value painting, monochromatic or grey. Colors would then be glazed over the value study. So technically it’s manipulation of the old masters’ way of working. James learned that from the old masters while combining it with Robert Vickery’s egg tempera techniques. He taught it to me and I’ve gone my own way with it. The funny thing is I learned how to paint with acrylic paints to a certain degree, and then for years I never used them. I went to oil paint. Then I discovered these Golden fluid paints. The pigment content is high, making colors vibrant and rich. I can do a lot more immediate textural things with acrylics too.

See, in my warped mind I see a really great little section of texture there that I’m going to build on. Then I do some “sculpting”, digging in with whites causing an area to pop out like that you see? Oh man I love that stuff.

F: And when you use your hand to blot, are you also feeling that too, does the touch of it help you?

B: It helps me feel how wet it is. I make contact with my board, or whatever I work on, a lot. I love doing this kind of a thing and experiencing it tactilely too. That’s another reason I love working with acrylics. I couldn’t do that with oil. Sometimes when I work with oil paint I forget and pat with my hand. “Oh god, I worked on that for an hour and just smeared it!”

But I love being able to feel it as part of my whole process. The tactile quality. And these are still really the beginning stages. I’ll shape this with value so it’s darker at the bottom and has areas of highlight. So as I massage some of the texture will be lost but some remains. Then when I glaze in warm and cool colors, edges turn more and more. That whole combination of things hopefully creates some magic.

 

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Interview copyright © 2015 Bill Carman and John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2015 Bill Carman. All Rights reserved.