Arnie and Cathy Fenner, the originators of Spectrum Fantastic Art, who for the last twenty years have spearheaded the ongoing annual publications featuring the best in contemporary fantastic art, have announced at the second Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event the transition of the book to a new director, editor and publisher. Beginning with Spectrum #21, John Fleskes of Flesk Publications will assume responsibilities.
“We never thought of Spectrum as something we ‘owned,'” offer Arnie and Cathy. “Instead we always viewed it as an ongoing project that we were a part of, with the aim of raising an appreciation for all types of fantastic art as well as for the people who create it. This field of contemporary art—and the community who creates it and the people who love it—are what matters, so there has never been any question that we would take steps to ensure Spectrum‘s future as a part of our plans.
“We had started thinking about some sort of transition nearly ten years ago, but we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do or how we were going to do it–or with whom–until we met John Fleskes. We had admired his books for quite some time, but once we got to know him personally that admiration grew into respect and friendship. About five years ago we asked John if he would consider taking the reins of Spectrum and guiding it into the future; we feel extremely fortunate that he agreed.”
“I’ve been a dedicated follower of Spectrum since its inception in 1994,” adds John Fleskes. “Here is an annual book that includes all of my favorite artists and, better yet, the artists to whom I may never have been exposed to if not for Spectrum. The book pools together a wide assortment of fantastic art making a diverse arrangement from an eclectic field. I have a tremendous passion for the genre as well as great respect for Spectrum and for the community the Fenners’ and the annual have brought together.
“The biggest questions I had to answer were why I would want to take on the responsibility of directing Spectrum when I already have a thriving art book publishing company,” continues John. “Wouldn’t it take time away from pursuing my personal projects? I took my time to explore these questions, feeling that I should be prepared to head Spectrum for the next twenty years in order to accept the offer.
“Ultimately, the answer was clear and simple. Spectrum is bigger than me. There is a beating heart that powers Spectrum–and serving as the new director is about far more than just the competition and annual. This new role is also about serving the fantastic art community–both domestic and international–and the stewardship involved. Furthermore, it’s about establishing trust and equitable treatment for the artists, as well as growing in new directions.
“When I started Flesk Publications I knew I wanted to build a company that revolved around positive relationships. Flesk is built upon my ethics and the principle of treating artists–and everybody, actually–fairly. When I met Arnie and Cathy for the first time I was delighted to meet two individuals who I admired for their integrity. I found role models who shared the same vision for conducting business and behaving toward others.
“I had no idea that as our friendship grew Cathy and Arnie were considering me as the new director of Spectrum. It’s indeed an honor to have their trust. I’m anxious to get started.”
“There were many things we wanted to do with Spectrum that we were unable to accomplish for myriad reasons,” share Arnie and Cathy. “For every success there was always something extra we wanted to explore which was prevented by time or logistics. From the very beginning we have always had the support of our friend and publisher, Tim Underwood, and will continue to work with him on projects in the future. We are confident that as the new director—as well as the publisher—John will be able to capitalize on the potential Spectrum has always had and continue to grow its influence in the years ahead.
“Change can sometimes be a little unsettling—but it can also be exciting, especially when changes are made for the right reasons. We and John share the same outlooks, the same sense of ethics, the same sense of responsibility to the artists, and the same goals. This isn’t the end of the story, just the beginning of a new chapter. John will bring a fresh outlook and vibrancy to Spectrum that will benefit everyone: we can’t wait to see what he does, beginning with volume 21 in 2014.”
“As this news of my new role is announced I understand the natural concern of fans and artists over what changes might be coming,” says John. “The arts are always evolving, as is our world, and Spectrum must constantly grow to stay contemporary. It benefits all of us for Spectrum to thrive. There will be no sudden changes, only carefully considered improvements to keep Spectrum fresh.
“The first of two immediate improvements will be a major redesign of the Spectrum Fantastic Art website which will go live by October 1, 2013 to coincide with the Spectrum #21 Call for Entries announcement. The second improvement, which I’m very excited about, is to open the Call for Entries to digital submissions. We will still accept hard copy prints for submissions, but by offering a choice of hard copy or digital submissions we hope to better cater to those who prefer the digital format. Beyond these two improvements I will be asking a lot of questions, taking a lot of notes and working hard to ensure that Spectrum will constantly evolve and grow.”
“My work begins immediately. I am putting together a list of candidates to contact as possibilities for the Spectrum #21 jury, as well as for the new advisory board. I’m taking this very seriously. I’m looking for a group of industry professionals who have open minds, serve a broad community, are respected by their peers and fans, and can work well within a group. ”
About Spectrum Fantastic Art
The mission of Spectrum is to promote the fantastic arts and provide an annual showcase for contemporary artists. Spectrum doesn’t exist to categorize or define fantastic art; rather, it exists to honor the imaginations of very special artists who delight in helping us see the world in a wonderfully different light. It’s our job to help them reach a wider appreciative audience.
About Flesk Publications
This year marks Flesk Publications’ eleventh anniversary of promoting the arts through quality collections. Flesk Publications prides itself on being different. A creative approach is pursued by exploring the aesthetics of each artist in order to design a package that serves as an extension of him or herself. The result is a unique and individual collection produced with passion. Flesk produces a full line of art books featuring the best of comics and graphic novels, fantasy, illustration, pinup and fine arts.
“A few things that separate us from other publishers are our absolute commitment to the quality of our books and the relationships formed with the artists we showcase,” shares John. “It’s not just about the books, but the positive future of the artists and that their trust, in allowing us to collect their work, is not abused.” Fleskes shares a passion for the arts and feels a responsibility in making sure he represents his artists with the best books possible while also raising the art form. “We hope to educate the public to expect a higher standard from publishers,” continues Fleskes. “We take our work very seriously yet enjoy the process. Whether it’s a 16-page chapbook or a 300-page oversized art book, we give each collection our full attention to meet our standards first. I have a self-drive that makes this approach a natural part of what Flesk Publications is all about. It isn’t a policy, it’s who we are.”
About John Fleskes
John Fleskes is the president and publisher of Flesk Publications. As a long-time admirer of a wide spectrum of artists’ works, he felt many artists had slipped into obscurity, or lacked the means to gain exposure. In answer to this dilemma, he founded Flesk Publications in 2002. He has published over forty books to date. John has contributed to numerous books as writer, editor and designer and serves as the director to Spectrum Fantastic Art beginning with Spectrum #21.
Spectrum Fantastic Art LLC
Attn: Arnie and Cathy Fenner
Flesk Publications LLC
Attn: John Fleskes