We will be exhibiting at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The show runs from July 23rd to the 27th. Our Flesk booth (#5019) is in our usual spot. We have added a Spectrum Fantastic Art booth right next door (#5017). Read on for news about our big sale, artist signings, the Flesk panel and where you can find artist friends of Flesk.
Books on offer at the Flesk/Spectrum booths. Big Sale!
We are bringing a new batch of recent book trade returns with slight scuffs or minor dings. These books will be on sale for 50-80% off of the cover price. We’re looking to blow them out at the show! It’s a great way to pick up a huge batch of Flesk books for a killer bargain. There are many new titles including The Art of Brom.
We will also have new copies of all of our Flesk books and an assortment of recent and past volumes of Spectrum.
We will be having a Spectrum signing at our booth #5017 on Friday from 2:00 to 3:00pm. Donato Giancola, Daren Bader, Allen Williams, Gary Gianni, Todd Lockwood, David Palumbo and Matthew Levin will all be with us. Bring your Spectrum books along to get signed!
Mark Schultz — Due to a sudden unexpected emergency, Mark will be unable to attend Comic-Con.
Jackson Robinson — Jackson informed us today (7/22/2014) that due to a sudden emergency he is unable to join us at Comic-Con.
Signing times will be posted at our booth, the Flesk website and on our Facebook page leading up to the show.
Flesk Panel–Thursday, July 24 at 11:00am, Room 28DE
With a lineup including Frank Cho (Drawing Beautiful Women, Savage Wolverine ), Terry Dodson (Red One, Uncanny X-Men) and William Stout (Hallucinations,Legends of the Blues) talking new projects-and publisher John Fleskes frankly discussing future Flesk titles and the latest on the renowned Spectrum Fantastic Art series-you can expect an entertaining hour!
Artist Friends of Flesk at Comic-Con
The following artists whose work we publish will be exhibiting at their own booths at Comic-Con. Their booth number and Flesk books are included.
Jim Silke – Booth #4901 (Jungle Girls and Jim Silke Sketchbook)
Frank Cho – Booth #4901 (Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method)
Craig Elliott – Booth #4713 (The Art of Craig Elliott)
Mike Mignola – Booth #4901 (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live)
William Stout – Booth #4803 (Dinosaur Discoveries, New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z, Hallucinations, Inspirations, Prehistoric Life Murals)
Gary Gianni – Booth #4902 (The Prince Valiant Page, Mysterious Islands, Major Thrill’s Adventure Book and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea)
Terry Dodson – Booth #4706 (Bombshells and his new sketchbook, Masquerade)
Donato Giancola – Donato Arts Booth #4503
Terryl Whitlatch – Booth 5338 (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2, Tales of Amalthea)
Here’s a treat for you: Thirty-five pictures from the third Spectrum Fantastic Art Live held on May 9-11, 2014. Captions by Carl Anderson and Jeff Smith. There’s a few captions missing. If you know the artist names, please let us know so that we can add them.
In the heart of Kansas City lies the venue for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2014; Kansas City Convention Center’s 46,400 square foot Grand Ballroom.
Artists Christina Hess and Dominick Saponaro hard at work putting the final touches on their booth before the show opens. Christina was selling a Spectrum exclusive teaser booklet for her upcoming “Animals From History” book.
Artist Edward Howard wowed attendees with numerous new originals in addition to offering affordable prints, like the one shown above, which you may recognize from the opening pages of Spectrum 20.
3-day ticket holders and exhibitors were treated to free hors d’oeuvres during the opening night party and Art Director Meet & Greet before viewing the film premiere of the documentary “Making It” on Friday evening.
The Kansas City Conventions & Visitors Bureau welcomed Spectrum attendees and exhibitors all over downtown.
Donato Giancola spies our camera at the opening night 3-day ticket holder and exhibitor party.
Jackson Robinson catches us taking pictures at the opening night party. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live marked Jackson’s convention debut. His playing card art work and decks were a big hit, particularly his Sherlock Holmes themed decks.
Steve Rude and Donato Giancola at the opening night party. Mr. Rude held a cosplay model contest leading up to the show. He painted the winner, donning a Supergirl costume, live during a demonstration on Saturday morning.
Greg Manchess enjoying himself at the opening night party.
Craig Elliott at the opening night party.
Eric Deschamps enjoying the opening night party.
Is that Johnny Depp? No, that’s Nigel Sade! Nigel is one of the nicest artists you could meet. (Side note: In the background of this photo on the left hand side you will see two of the hardest working ladies on the Spectrum committee: Event Organizer Shena Wolf and Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Banion.)
Steve Rude listening to John Fleskes’ vision on the show floor.
Adrian Johnson of Sidebar Nation interviews Special Guest Tim Bruckner. Mr. Bruckner shared how he got into sculpting, discussed challenging pieces, explained techniques and fielded questions from the crowd. A great interview to kick off the weekend’s scheduled programming.
Jackson Robinson signing one of his Sherlock Holmes playing card decks for a fan. Jackson not only created all the artwork on the cards he also created unique packaging.
The Shiflett Brothers (Brandon and Jarrod) at their exhibit booth. They participated in live sculpting demos throughout the weekend and were available for 3D portfolio reviews. Look for an award winning piece from them in Spectrum 21 this fall.
Forest Rogers admiring one of Virginie Ropars’ incredible sculptures, with the artist herself! Words can’t express how incredible it was to see, study, and be able to purchase original sculptures directly from the artists.
Greg Manchess points out details on original paintings he brought to the show to sell. As part of the weekend’s activities, Greg participated in a live painting demonstration with artist Gary Kelley on Saturday afternoon that drew the attention of fellow artists as well as attendees.
John Fleskes, Special Guest Frank Cho, and Mark Schultz talking at the Flesk Publications booth. Frank Cho put on a live drawing demo during his special guest interview on Saturday and Mark Schultz conducted a dry brush demo on Sunday.
Craig Elliot organizing his originals and prints for sale at the Flesk Publications booth.
Anthony Kosar’s “Boaris Frankenswine”
One of Dan Chudzinski’s signature pieces.
Red Riding Hood, a sculpture by artist Forest Rogers.
“Vertical Man-Tank, 1892”, a piece from The Shiflett Brothers which took home the Gold Award in the Dimensional category.
The third Spectrum Fantastic Art Live was held on May 9-11 in Kansas City, MO. Enjoy this two minute video which shows you a few highlights from the three day event! Thanks to everyone who exhibited and attended!
About Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
SFAL is a high-energy showcase for the best and brightest in the fantasy and science fiction art community. It brings together artists, industry professionals and fans.
It’s a show for everyone. For artists, both established and aspiring, and fans of art. For people who love movies, video games, tabletop gaming, RPGs, card games and more. For fans of comics, science fiction, fantasy and any genre that has ever had an art component.
The third event featured over 200 booths full of the finest artists working today. Multiple disciplines were represented. Exquisite dolls, grotesque mannequins, oil paintings, prints, bronzes, pencil sketches, sculptures … all forms of art are celebrated at SFAL.
There were multiple programming tracks, from topics that affect artists and their creative process to discussions of practical industry concerns, as well as panels on how to start collecting art.
There were portfolio reviews by the leading art directors in multiple industries.
If you make art, you should come to SFAL 4. If you love art, you should come. If you’re wondering if this is for you, it is. You’ll love it. See you next time!
During our road trip back to California from Kansas City, Mark Schultz and Jim Reid asked me a few questions about the recent Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event. I decided to type up my responses while we were traveling through Arizona along Highway 40. I’ve also added a series of fifteen pictures from the show with captions.
Question: This is the third year of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live show. Tell us about the growth this year.
Answer: The growth can be measured and discussed in a few ways.
First, the pre-sales for tickets were more than double what they were last year. That’s a big deal and worth celebrating. There was a noticeable increase of people on the floor compared to last year.
Second, three of us joined the Spectrum show committee; Carl Anderson, Jeff Smith and myself. We took on roles to help add new features, which I’ll get into in a second, and to help spread out the existing duties to allow for a better individual focus of responsibilities both before and during the show. There seems to be the misconception that I am in charge of the show. But really, the show is the result of a team of dedicated and hard-working people put together by Cathy and Arnie Fenner. It is the initiative and efforts of the Fenner’s, and also Shena Wolf who plays an integral role in its operations, that makes the show a success.
Third, there were a number of new features added to the show. I’ll run down the list.
A) We added an “Artist Tables” section, which gave our future stars an opportunity to exhibit at a show for a modest price. This was intended to attract more local, young, first time and / or artists that have a smaller show budget to the event as exhibitors. We could have continued to fill the whole show with booths, but I think by reserving a portion of the exhibit hall space for artist tables, it allows more opportunities to the artists, and gives us more of a diverse range of artists attending, which attracts more people to the show. I think it’s better for everyone.
B) We improved our panels and workshops by adding more of an educational focus. We had artist panels by top industry professionals and art directors. For instance, Iain McCaig, Mark Schultz and Steve Rude all conducted artwork demonstrations. Justin Sweet and Vance Kovacs talked about working in film. Art Directors Lauren Pinepento, Marc Scheff and Jon Schindenhette did portfolio reviews. Comics professionals Terry Dodson, Frank Cho and Mark Chiarello offered advice on working within the industry. There was a live sculpting event happening all weekend on the show room floor. We covered quite a bit of core industry essentials that were geared toward professionals in the field, for those just breaking, for students, and even for fans who want to see how things are run. I also want there to be opportunities for young artists rub elbows with the established pros.
Then to get back to the main areas of growth, fourth, there were more artists at the show. Besides the five special show guests, plus the ten additional artists who joined us at our Flesk / Spectrum booth, if you add the artist exhibitors to the list, there were over 200 artists there to meet, learn from, get autographs and purchase original artwork from.
I’ll add too, that we continued to make sure we kept the daily ticket prices at only $20, or all three days for $40, since we want to make sure the show is easily accessible. If you took all of the workshops that were available to all of the attendees at no additional price, it’s an incredible bargain.
Question: Why have the show in Kansas City?
Answer: The main reason why I like having the show in Kansas City is its central position within the country. This allows SFAL to attract artists from the west and east coasts, as well as everywhere in-between to make for an exceptionally diverse group. The city is just a one to three hour flight from most states making it easy to travel to. Also, Kansas City offers inexpensive hotels, a wide variety of restaurants from quick meals to fine dining, all of which are within a short walking distance to the convention center. The local community and city itself have been very supportive as well.
Question: What type of artists do you want to see at SFAL?
Answer: One of the main aspects that I want to retain about the show is the heart. We want SFAL to grow while maintaining the essence of bringing the community together to a welcoming environment. With this said, I would like to continue to see artists come to the show who are supportive of one another and who enjoy the collaborative process of growing together. Anyone who has something to communicate through art, artists who are enthusiastic–even those who may feel unwelcome elsewhere–we want them here.
Question: Beyond community and workshop opportunities from the show, what practical aspects can the artists expect to gain from exhibiting at the show.
Answer: As someone who has exhibited at over 100 shows, I’m well aware of the time and cost considerations that go into exhibiting at a show. For me personally, the show has to make sense and be practical beyond just having a fun time to justify going in the first place, let alone signing up to go again the next year. The Spectrum committee is well aware of the need for fans and patrons to attend the show who are willing to buy artwork to allow the artist to continue to create their artwork. We had placed advertisements in newspapers, magazines, online and even run TV commercials, as well as social networking to inform, educate and encourage people to come to the show. It’s all well and good to say we will have a good time, but we need this to make sense for everyone. None of the Spectrum committee has taken a salary and we’ve turned all of the money right back into next year’s show, so we are committed to making this happen.
Question: What type of atmosphere do you hope to create for SFAL?
Answer: Our goal is for this show to be an event that is something in-between the comic shows and fine art shows. We want the sophistication and focus on the art that the fine art shows have, yet the accessibility and fun that can be found at a comic show. And again, we want people to have the opportunity to grow and to be inspired upon leaving that combined will benefit their art and careers.
Question: Are there any after-hours activities?
Answer: Yes. Every night. There was the Spectrum Awards, a life-drawing event and social gatherings. After-hours activities are important, not just for the attendees who want to keep enjoying their time in Kansas City, but also for the exhibitors who have been at their booths all day and want to enjoy the company of their fellow professionals. Starting on Thursday evening, planned evening hot-spots are promoted where everyone can all get together. These are public places and welcome to all. This year was exciting in that by Sunday there were three main locations that were packed with people from the show, compared to just the one spot the following two years. One of my favorite comments this year was that our previous quiet spot was now packed with people from the show late into each night. I hope to hear this complaint more and more.
Question: What was the life-drawing event?
Answer: On Friday night, a large room and models were secured in the Aladdin hotel where artists were able to draw direct from life. Roughly 150 artists were there. It’s proven to be very popular these last three years.
Question: And can you give me some more details about the Spectrum Awards?
Answer: The Spectrum 21 Awards ceremony was held on May 10th at the historic Midland Theater. The gold and silver Spectrum 21 awards were handed out to sixteen artists within eight categories. This is the time to shine the spotlight on the artists and make them the stars, while celebrating their hard work and achievements. We also announce the 2014 Spectrum Grand Master Award, the recipient of which has to have had over 20 years in the field, given freely to the community, inspired a new generation and whose art is exceptional in every way. This year the award was given to Iain McCaig. There was live entertainment, amazing heartwarming acceptance speeches and a lively after-party.
The Spectrum 21 Awards were presented May 10, 2014 at a gala ceremony held in Kansas City’s historic Midland Theater. This was the first awards presentation under the guidance of Spectrum’s new Director John Fleskes. Jurors who determined the Gold and Silver Award winners this year were Cory Godbey, J. Anthony Kosar, George Pratt, Shelly Wan, and Allen Williams. All of the work will be included in Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, which will be published by Flesk Publications and distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West in October.
Advertising Gold Award: Kent Williams — The Criterion Collection Lord of the Flies
Silver Award: Victo Ngai — A Tiger Beer Chinese New Year
Gold Award: Nicolas Delort — The End of the Road
Silver Award: Scott Gustafson — Little Sambha and the Tiger with the Beautiful Purple Shoes with Crimson Soles
Gold Award: Thomas Campi — The Red Door
Silver Award: Mark A. Nelson — Seasons, page 1
Concept Art Gold Award: Theo Prins — Refugees
Silver Award: Vance Kovacs — John Carter Punches a Thark
Gold Award: The Shiflett Bros. — Vertical Man-Tank, 1892
Silver Award: Colin and Kristine Poole — Hot Diggety Dog
Gold Award: Tran Nguyen — The Insects of Love
Silver Award: Yuko Shimizu — Hair Tree
I’ve wrapped up the cover design for Spectrum 21. The artwork featured on the cover is a fine art painting by Rebecca Léveillé-Guay titled “The Visitor.” Thanks to Rebecca for letting us use the art for the cover!
Right now I’m working on creating the list of jury picks for inclusion into Spectrum 21. I’ll have it ready to post just after mid-March.
I would like to express my utmost gratitude to everyone who sent in their call for entries submissions to Spectrum 21. We are thrilled to have your support and goodwill. This has been an exciting experience so far. We are enjoying preparing your entries for the judges to review in early March. We would like to assure you that we do not pre-screen any art. The integrity of Spectrum and making sure each of your submissions has an equal opportunity to be viewed by the jury is important to us. Those who are selected for inclusion into Spectrum 21 will be notified in April 2014. Good luck, everyone!
Please visit the Spectrum website news page each week to learn more about the process. We will be providing updates to keep you informed!
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
The Jim Silke Sketchbook is now available for immediate shipment from the Flesk website. The pre-orders are going out today. The book will arrive in the stores on or around November 1. As a bonus for orders placed through Flesk, you will receive a Flesk exclusive bookplate signed by Jim Silke.
We’re very pleased with how the book looks. It’s filled with previously unpublished sketches from Jim’s studio and we are eager for you to see the drawings.
Craig Elliott decided to stick around the Bay Area after the APE show. I managed to wrangle him in for an extensive interview and pencil and watercolor demonstration, all of which we captured on film for an upcoming mini-documentary focusing on how we met, some talk about the design decisions that went into the book, lengthy discussion about his art and who Craig is as a person, and some downright touchy-feely talk about why we enjoy working together so much.
Jonathan Leveck was at the helm with the studio set up. He spent four hours getting the backdrop and lighting just right. The footage is in Jonathan’s hands and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with it. I’ve asked Jonathan to put together a time-lapse video clip showing Craig’s work from start to finish, too. I expect in the next couple of weeks we’ll have a couple of fun films to watch on the Flesk site.