Spectrum Fantastic Art Announces the Transition to a New Director with Spectrum #21 — Press Release

Left to right: Cathy & Arnie Fenner with John Fleskes.

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.

Contact Information

Spectrum Fantastic Art LLC
Attn: Arnie and Cathy Fenner

Flesk Publications LLC
Attn: John Fleskes

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 — Pictures and Stories Part 3 — Spectrum #20 Awards Ceremony

The Spectrum #20 awards ceremony, in conjunction the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 event, was held live at the Midland Theatre on May 18, 2013 in Kansas City, MO. The doors opened at 7:00 p.m., with catering by Jack Stack Barbecue. The show was a free bonus to exhibitors and three-day ticket holders of SFAL2.

The show began at 8:00 p.m. with a live dance presentation by Quixotic Fusion. The $40 three-day ticket price for SFAL2 is a steal when considering that you can see this performance within the grandeur of the historic Midland Theatre at no extra cost. Quixotic combines dance, light, fashion, art and music for the ultimate in sensory stimulation.

The Spectrum awards ceremony immediately followed. Captions fall under each photo. Thanks to Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. for providing me with the stage pictures to share. SFAL2-Awards-2013-Jim-V-02Spectrum founders and show organizers, Arnie and Cathy Fenner, opened with introductory remarks and thanked everyone for coming.

SFAL2-Awards-2013-Jim-V-01Here I am accepting the Silver Award in the Advertising category on behalf of Android Jones for “Ganeshatron.” Android was unable to make the event due to a prior engagement.

SFAL2-Awards-2013-Jim-V-03David Palumbo graciously accepts his Gold Award for “Fed” in the Book category.

SFAL2-Awards-2013-Jim-V-04Allen Williams spoke form the heart when receiving his Gold Award for “Tree of Tales” in the Concept Art category.

SFAL2-Awards-2013-Jim-V-06The Shiflett brothers announced the recipients for the Gold and Silver awards in the Dimensional category–or was that Silver and Gold? The recipient envelopes got mixed up, which provided the brothers, and later Peter de Sève, with comedy material to make the evening more fun.

The show ended with a second performance by Quiotic fusion to wrap up an extraordinary live presentation.

Congratulations to all of the award recipients, including Brom who received the Grand Master Award. The complete list of winners is listed further down.


The after party lasted into the night. I asked Jonathan Leveck to run and grab my camera and take a few pictures for us to use on my blog.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-01Here is Arnie Fenner talking with Gold Award recipient in the Dimensional category, Virginie Ropars.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-02Arnie Fenner and myself talking about something or other, but not work. We’re having fun.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-04Charles Vess was happy to receive a Silver Award in the Book category for “I Didn’t Know She Was a Bottle Witch” from Tanglewood.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-05 From left to right: Mark Schultz, Craig Elliott, Mark A. Nelson and me.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-06Left to right: Me with Craig Elliott and Gary Gianni.

Spectrum-FAL2-Awards-Flesk-07See you next year at the Midland Theatre for another fabulous evening.

Spectrum #20 Award Winners

Gold: Dan Dos Santos, Dragon Empress
Silver: Android Jones, Ganeshatron

Gold: David Palumbo, Fed
Silver: Charles Vess, Tanglewood: I Didn’t Know She Was a Bottle Witch

Gold: Paolo Rivera, Daredevil #10
Silver: David Petersen, Mouse Guard Black Axe #4, Page 19

Concept Art:
Gold: Allen Williams, Tree of Tales
Silver: Daniel Dociu, Guild Wars 2, Norn Lodge

Gold: Virginie Ropars, Acanthopis III
Silver: David Meng, Sashimi

Gold: Sam Bosma, Stability
Silver: Sam Weber, Cancer Monster

Gold: Kekai Kotaki, Stampede
Silver: Lucas Graciano, Dragon Swarm

Gold: Cory Godbey, The Fish Master
Silver: Andrew Mar, Tell-Tale Heart

2013 Grand Master award:

Thank you to Arnie and Cathy for putting on an amazing evening!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes. Pictures copyright © 2013 Flesk Publications and Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.



Back to the Office After Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2

SpectrumFAL2_OneSheetAfter driving 4041.6 miles through seven states (eight if you include my home state of California), I’m back from my road trip to and from the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 event in Kansas City, Missouri.

I was able to post two blogs from the road, and have a batch partially written which I’ll be sharing over the course of this next week. Topics I’ll cover are the Spectrum Awards, around the booths, the artist interviews we filmed, my thoughts about the show, and what the future holds for Spectrum now that the annual is transitioning into my hands. And, a brief bit about my journey halfway across the country and back.

I just sat down with Jonathan Leveck, who helped me at the Spectrum show, and James Walker, who ran our booth at the Big Wow ComicFest, for a full rundown of both events to see what went well and what we can improve upon for next year. We came up with some excellent ideas for the future.

At the moment we are fully engaged in catching up on emails and book orders, including mailing out all of the SFAL2 commemorative books. All should be shipped by Tuesday.

More soon!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes.


Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 — Pictures and Stories Part 2 — The Show Book Group Signing

The six guests of Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2, and a few contributors, joined us at the Flesk booth on Saturday from 2:00-3:15 for a big group commemorative book signing. I want to thank everyone who took part: Charles Vess, Jon Foster, Terryl Whitlatch, Peter de Sève, Michael Whelan, Tara McPherson, Greg Spalenka, George Pratt and Cathy & Arnie Fenner–and for being so giving of your time!

I took some pictures during the event. The captions fall under each picture.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-01Spectrum founders and show organizers, Cathy and Arnie Fenner, who wrote the introduction to the book, were able to take part.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-02Here’s George Pratt, who wrote the introduction to Jon Foster’s section. He’s an incredible painter and a pleasure to talk with.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-03Special guest, Tara McPherson, signing a copy of the book.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-04Michael Whelan–always in a good mood.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-05Peter de Sève was doing little drawings in the books.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-06Terryl Whitlatch, signing a copy of her book Animals: Real and Imagined. Fans were welcome to bring books from their personal collections to get signed, too.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-07Greg Spalenka, who wrote the introduction to Tara McPherson’s section, was kind enough to join in–to our delight.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-08Jon Foster, in good spirits whenever I saw him.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-09The legendary artist, Charles Vess.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-10This is a group shot from the vantage point of standing in line as you would round the corner to start getting your signatures and meeting the artists and writers.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-11Charles Vess was signing and doing quick drawings in the books.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-12Jon Foster adding a drawing for a lucky fan.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-13Terryl Whitlatch signing a show book.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-14Peter de Sève seemed to do a different drawing in each book. His creativity appears to be endless.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-15Michael Whelan signing the commemorative book. How would you like for this to be your copy!

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-16Tara McPherson signing a copy in her section. Her paintings are amazing. What a treat to have her in the book and as a guest.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-17Here’s a picture from the position as you are exiting the signing area.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-18And another picture as you are walking back and away from the Flesk booth.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-19This is a partial group shot form the middle of the line.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-20Charles Vess was drawing on the table plastic cover in-between signing books. I cut out and saved the drawing once the show was over. Charles let me know it would be OK to give it away to a lucky fan. We’re going to come up with some sort of a method to do so as a prize at the San Diego Comic-Con show.

Spectrum-FAL2-Flesk-book-signing-21Jonathan Leveck grabbed the camera as the signing was wrapping up and snapped this shot of Jon Foster and myself.

Thanks again to all of the artists, writers and to Cathy and Arnie Fenner for joining us for the group signing. I hope those that attended and those that participated had a great time!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text and pictures copyright © 2013 John Fleskes.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 — Pictures and Stories Part One

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 wrapped up Sunday evening. My video and still camera gear SD and CF cards are full of imagery, and my head is packed with stories to share. I’m making the long drive back home and will post short blog entries as I find moments at rest stops along the way. Once I’m settled back in the office I look forward to writing about the Spectrum transition and answering a batch of questions that I have found to be the most commonly asked.

I’ll start with an experience I had when meeting Dave Palumbo for the first time, which was last Friday. I was walking by his booth when a striking painting of his grabbed my attention. It was the original for Fed, which ended up receiving the Spectrum Gold Award the following evening. I was admiring the composition, uniqueness and execution of the piece, and then proceeded to view his other works. I let my eyes slowly migrate across the walls, then drift down to the table top. I saw a little gem of a personal painting that gave me pause–a lengthy one at that. I let Dave know it was my favorite piece of his on display. I was completely mesmerized by his use of negative space and brushwork.

Cut to Sunday evening when I was stopping by Jonathan Leveck’s hotel room. (The “Jonathan” who works for me, in case you didn’t know.) I looked over on his nightstand and guess what was sitting there? Dave’s little gem! After allowing my jealousy to subside, I complimented Jonathan on his fine taste and knew I had hired the right guy. (I knew before, but now I really knew.) I find these little moments, especially when piled on top of other memorable experiences, the core to what makes a show like Spectrum Fantastic Art Live so special.

Here are a few pictures that I took at the Flesk booth on Saturday.

Bill Carman
Bill Carman

Bill Carman utilized his time in-between talking with fans and fellow artists to finish a new commission. I first met Bill when we were both jury members for Spectrum 17. During our dinner after a long day of casting votes and debating awards, Arnie Fenner mentioned that he and Cathy were in the early stages of grooming a new director to eventually take over Spectrum. Bill pointed at me and said, “What about this guy?” And I quickly and casually replied, “I should be so lucky.” Bill gave me a wry look and I returned my best poker face expression. He never asked me about it again, but I sensed that he read right through me. We had a good laugh about it after the announcement was made last Friday.

Peter de Sève and Terryl Whitlatch
Peter de Sève and Terryl Whitlatch

Peter de Sève and Terryl Whitlatch, two of the guests of the show, used our Flesk booth as a home base for signings. They both were very giving with their time, not just with the fans at the booth, but also during the many panels that they were a part of.

More pictures soon!



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text and pictures copyright © 2013 John Fleskes.

Flesk and Spectrum

Hi, everyone,

This is a quick post, but I wanted to share the big news. As of Spectrum #21 I’ll be taking over as the new editor, director and publisher of the annual. I’ll be sharing all of the details right after the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live show, including how this transition came about, when Cathy and Arnie Fenner approached me with the idea, what type of changes and improvements I have planned, and how this affects Flesk. It will all be good news!

This is a tremendous honor in which I am grateful to Arnie and Cathy for having the faith, and trust in me to represent Spectrum.

More soon.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes.

The Art of Brom Advance Copies Pictures

I just received our advance sample copies of The Art of Brom from the printer. They look terrific! We got them just in time to share at the upcoming Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 (Flesk booth #500) and Big Wow ComicFest (Flesk booth #432) shows coming up soon. Take a look!

The Art of Brom deluxe edition with slipcase
The Art of Brom publisher edition fantasy cover
The Art of Brom publisher edition fantasy cover
The Art of Brom publisher edition nude cover
The Art of Brom publisher edition nude cover
The Art of Brom trade edition
The Art of Brom trade edition



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes. Art copyright © 2013 Brom

“The Art of Brom” at Flesk Publications

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 Promotional Design

SpectrumFAL2_OneSheetMotion Artist, Vidur Gupta, at Helpful Bear Productions (helpfulbear.com) offered to create a one-sheet promotional display for our Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 commemorative book. I think he did a beautiful job. The harmony of the supporting colors and background is excellent. You can see the poster above. It will be used throughout our website and with our promotional efforts.  If you have your own books that you would like a professional one-sheet made for, you can contact Gil Banducci. His contact information is located at the Helpful Bear website.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes

Helpful Bear Productions
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 details and book order
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 event website

New and Final Stretch Goal for the Mark Schultz Kickstarter Campaign.

Hi, all,
Our Mark Schultz Kickstarter Campaign ends this Saturday. Mark and I posted a fresh update just now. Here are the details. (Or click here to go directly to our Kickstarter page.)


This is it—we are coming down the Final Stretch of the Mark Schultz Kickstarter Campaign. We’re down to the final five days.

We would like to once again express our ongoing gratitude for all of your support in making the special upgrades, video, hardbound books and prints happen. We feel we just can’t say this enough.

It’s been our ongoing objective to bring you value at a reasonable price, but in the end it is up to you to tell us whether or not you agree that you are getting good value. Your contributions have spoken loud and clear and we appreciate your faith in us.

Now, before we get to that last goal, let’s recap what you have already made possible:

1. Two 8 x 10 inch signed prints exclusive and free to all print and book supporters. The first print features a new Xenozoic image of Hannah and Jack battling stinging, crawly things. The second print is of the painting used for the Carbon cover.

2. The 55 minute brush and ink demonstration video by Mark Schultz comes as a bonus, at no additional cost, to all of our Kickstarter print and book supporters. This will be available for streaming from our website at the same time as the prints and books become available by August.

3. Xenozoic hardcover edition, with signature page and upgraded binging. This unique edition will be limited to only 500 copies. The Kickstarter price is $60.00. The cover price will be $75.00 after this campaign is over, and this book will not be available through the bookstores.

4. The Carbon deluxe signed hardcover edition limited to only 600 copies and only available direct from Flesk.

5. The “Beyond the Known Forest” 18 x 24 inch signed deluxe print.

6. Xenozoic signed bookplate included with all pledges for the paperback or hardcover Xenozoic book.

7. Free shipping for all orders in the U.S.A.

So, with the final few days left, we’re adding one final stretch goal to our campaign: If we hit the $61K mark, we will add a third 8 x 10 inch signed print featuring Mark’s watercolor and carbon pencil illustration, No. 1 (as seen in Various Drawings Vol. 5, page 11).

mark-schultz-no-1No. 1 print image

And, as a reminder, Carbon and Xenozoic are both wrapped and on the press. All continues as scheduled. All goes according to plan. Cue mad laughter.

Thanks, everyone. More updates coming later this week.

John Flesk and Mark Schultz




John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes and Mark Schultz. Art copyright © 2013 Mark Schultz

Mark Schultz Kickstarter Campaign
Mark Schultz books from Flesk Publications

Flesk Exhibiting at Big Wow ComicFest

Big-wow-logoWe’ll be exhibiting at the Big Wow ComicFest at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, CA this May 18-19. If that date sounds familiar, you’re right. It just so happens to be the same weekend as the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 event we are also exhibiting at. I’ll be at the Spectrum show, while I have my friends James Walker and Josh Ford running the booth at Big Wow. James and Josh have plenty of experience doing shows and are familiar with Flesk and what’s going on. There will be a full line up of our books, some very reasonably priced dinged books for you to sample our titles and free brochures for your perusal. The Flesk corner booth is #432.

The show has an impressive group of comic book artist guests. Rachel and Terry Dodson (Songes, Bombshells and Reveries) and Jim Silke (Jungle Girls and Jim Silke Sketchbook), who I have had the pleasure of working with, will be there. There’s also Frank Cho, Frank Cirocco, Lela Dowling, Geof Darrow, Aaron Lopresti, Alex Nino, Kevin Nowlan, Sanjulian, and many more. Even Stan Lee will be making an appearance on Sunday.

If you are in the Bay Area it’s well worth going. Tickets are only $20 for the day or $30 for both.

Be sure to let me know how the show goes.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications
Text copyright © 2013 John Fleskes. All rights reserved.

Big Wow ComicFest