Spectrum 23 Award Nominations!

The Spectrum 23: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art jury has nominated the top five artist works in each of the eight categories for a silver and gold award. David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch discussed the merits of hundreds of pieces of art before finalizing this list on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at the Flesk Publications offices in Santa Cruz, California.

The winners will be announced at the Spectrum 23 Awards Ceremony held at the Society of Illustrators on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

Congratulations to all of the artists who have been considered!




Nico-Delort-BlessingOfAthena-A-Spectrum23-nominationNico Delort
The Blessing of Athena

Bartosz-Kosowski-Discworld-A-Spectrum23-nominationBartosz Kosowski

Colin-Poole-Vishnus-third-Avatar-A-Spectrum23-nominationColin Poole
Vishnu’s Third Avatar

Andrew-Thompson-Glitch-A-Spectrum23-nominationAndrew Thompson

Joseph-Qiu-24HRmoviemarathon-A-Spectrum23-nominationJoseph Qiu
24 Hour Movie Marathon




Chris_Ayers-Munchasaurus_Rex-B-Spectrum23-nominationChris Ayers
Munchasaurus Rex

RovinaCai_TomThom-Spectrum23-nominationRovina Cai
Tom, Thom

Donato-Giancola-Vesurius-B-Spectrum23-NominationDonato Giancola

karla-ortiz-sorcererofthewildeeps-B-Spectrum23-nominationKarla Ortiz
Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Annie_Stegg-Gerard-RenardAndTheStrawberries-B-Spectrum23-nominationAnnie Stegg Gerard
Renard and the Strawberries




Daren-Bader-Tribes-of-Kai-pg41-C-Spectrum23-nominationDaren Bader
Tribes of Kai, page 41

Gael_Bertrand_cover_Island_Magazine-C-Spectrum23-nominationGael Bertrand
Island #4 cover

Tyler-Crook-HarrowCounty1Cover-C-Spectrum23-nominationTyler Crook
Harrow County #1 cover

Nic-Klein-DRIFTER-7-C-Spectrum23-nominationNic Klein

Paolo-Rivera-Hellboy1953-C-Spectrum23-nominationPaolo Rivera
Hellboy 1953




Mirko-Failoni-The-Mushroom-Forest-CA-Spectrum23-nominationMirko Failoni
The Mushroom Forest

Te-Hu-Journey_to_west-CA-Spectrum23-nominationTe Hu
Journey to West

The Artwork by Vance Kovacs will be posted on April 15th, after the release of the new Jungle Book film.

Vance Kovacs
King Louie’s Court

Seth-Rutledge-Window-View-CA-Spectrum23-nominationSeth Rutledge
Window View

Dejian-Wu-leewiartDragon Island-CA-Spectrum23-nominationDejian Wu
Dragon Island




Death Wings

Thomas-Kuebler-Adelpha-and-Her-Sister-D-Spectrum23-nominationThomas Kuebler
Adelpha and Her Sister

Patrick-MASSON-Blind_Death-D-Spectrum23-nominationPatrick Masson
The Blind Death

forest-rogers-morrigan-D-Spectrum23-nominationForest Rogers
The Morrigan

Dug-Stanat-MeetingMasterJones-1-D-Spectrum23-nominationDug Stanat
Meeting Master Jones




Donato-Giancola-Empathy-E--Spectrum23-nominationDonato Giancola

Tran_Nguyen_TravelingToaDistantDay-E-Spectrum23-nominationTran Nguyen
Traveling To a Distant Day

greg-ruth-Finnegans-Field-E-Spectrum23-nominationGreg Ruth
Finnegan’s Field

ChrisSeaman_FamilyPortraithausen-E-Spectrum23-nominationChris Seaman
Family Portraithausen: A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen

sam-weber-the_language_of_knives-E-Spectrum23-nominationSam Weber
The Language of Knives




Julie-Bell-Behind-The-Veil-I-Spectrum23-nominationJulie Bell
Behind the Veil

Wesley-Burt-NaturalConnection-I-Spectrum23-nominationWesley Burt
Natural Connection

bill-carman-medievalbatman-I-Spectrum23-nominationBill Carman
Medieval Batman

Te-Hu-offering-I-Spectrum23-nominationTe Hu

Tyler-Jacobson-Exalted-Angel-I-Spectrum23-nominationTyler Jacobson
Exalted Angel




Dragan-Bibin-Pull-U-Spectrum23-nominationDragan Bibin

Jaemin-Kim-king-under-the-mountain-U-Spectrum23-nominationJaemin Kim
King Under the Mountain

Greg-Opalinski-Initiate-U-Spectrum23-nominationGreg Opalinski

Rob-Rey-Bioluminescence-U-Spectrum23-nominationRob Rey

Wayne-Haag-Dust_Devil-U-Spectrum23-nominationWayne Haag
Dust Devil



Thank you to all of the artists who submitted to Spectrum 23.



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Text copyright © 2016 John Fleskes. Artwork © 2016 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.


Spectrum 23 Judging Event Pictures!

Hi, everyone,

The Spectrum 23 jury is reviewing the submissions right now! Here are pictures of the esteemed group in action at this moment. Thanks to David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch for spending the day here at the Flesk offices during this beautiful day in Santa Cruz, CA. More photos will be posted here throughout the day.

Spectrum23-judging-event-001 Spectrum23-judging-event-002 Spectrum23-judging-event-003 Spectrum23-judging-event-004 Spectrum23-judging-event-005The Spectrum 23 jury consisting of David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch are currently selecting the five nominees for each of the eight categories! The nominees for the Advertising, Book, Comic and Concept Art categories are wrapped up. The full list will be posted on Monday.




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Spectrum 23 Judging Event is This Weekend!

Spectrum-23-juryThe Spectrum 23 jury will be arriving in Santa Cruz, California on Friday evening in preparation for the judging event that will be held on Saturday, February 27th. This includes David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch!

My office manager Keith and I will be taking pictures and video footage all weekend and sharing imagery during the process. Check back here on Saturday afternoon.

The Spectrum 23 submissions are ready to be viewed by the judges. Over these last few weeks it’s been a lengthy process to review the art. This involves double checking the artworks against the entry forms. If there is anything unclear we would contact the artist or representative for clarification. Most importantly we want to make sure the digital art file or print is clear and looks it’s best for review by the jury this weekend.

At this moment all of the artwork is separated by category. The jury will be arriving Friday afternoon. Just one of the many aspects that make the Spectrum judging process unique is that we bring the jury together to one location where they vote on the works that go in the book. Each vote is anonymous. A majority of three or more votes secures the placement of a given work within the pages of Spectrum. Discussion between the artists while they are casting their votes is discouraged. I instill the sense of fairness with the jury from the start. It’s the work, and its ability to jump out and engage the jury to vote for it that is paramount. The names of the artists are not shared and the jury is asked to set aside any personal friendships with fellow artists to vote purely on the quality of the works.

In most cases the judges that I pull together are people who do not know each other personally. They also tend to be people who I do not know closely. What this does is to guarantee as wide a breath of selections while preventing favoritism. Again, it gets back to the process being a fair one where all artists have an equal chance of being seen by the jury.

Once the individual judging has finished, we pull together the works that have been earmarked for award considerations. Each judge is asked to select at least one piece that displays a marked extra quality to share with the others during the awards discussions. All in all, a typical batch for discussion can be from 10 to 30 pieces for each category. This is when the jury is encouraged to openly discuss their case for certain works for receiving the silver or gold awards. Generally the jury is cordial, listens to each others thoughts and votes to a group consensus. My role is as a fly on a wall to mark those works that become nominations and award recipients. I do not encourage that they vote for any particular works or discuss the merits of any artists. This is for the jury to determine alone without any outside influence.

We will be taking pictures and video throughout the weekend. We will post them here on my blog and on the spectrumfantasticart.com website during the days following the judging event.

My first goal will be to post the nominees for consideration for awards, followed by tallying the votes to produce the list of artist’s names whose works were selected.

I’m very excited for this weekend. The five judges are exceptional professionals in the field. It’s my honor to host the Spectrum 23 judging event.

Good luck to everyone who submitted!



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Text copyright © 2016 John Fleskes. Videos © 2016 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2016 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.


Elfquest: The Art of the Story–The Backstory

Art-of-the-Story-Elfquest-cover-webIn early January 2015 I was working on the basic template for The Art of Elfquest. Richard and Wendy Pini were visiting on the 14th and 15th. I wanted to make sure the book map was in a presentable form to review with the Pini’s once they arrived. Richard had sent me a hundreds of scans to process, consider and utilize for The Art of Elfquest, yet something was just not working. I had 304 pages to work with–a hefty amount –although far more art than I could use. Normally I would trim the art down by selecting the best of the best and condense the book down to the essentials. But, what is normally a process that I am good at was proving difficult.

With about four days to go before the Pini’s arrived I began to layout a second book. It included the Hidden Years 9 1/2 pencil pages by Wendy and a few other self-contained Elfquest stories that I am fond of. I now had the 304 page Art of Elfquest roughly laid out and a second title that came to about 176 pages.

Not too long after Richard and Wendy arrived I let them know of my dilemma: I wanted to see more art that could fit into The Art of Elfquest and came to the conclusion that we had to have two books. I presented them with what would later become Elfquest: The Art of the Story. It was Richard who came up with this title. To my delight they signed off on the book.

Most of our time during the reminder of their visit focused on The Art of Elfquest. We gathered the quotes through interviews, received feedback about art placement and grouping, and got much of the core layout completed during those two days.

Once The Art of Elfquest went to the printer, we pulled out The Art of the Story and got to work. Our goals were to not treat it as a simple reprint book. We didn’t want it to compete or overlap with any of the Dark Horse collections. We also wanted a unique art book approach to it. It was during this time that I suggested that we show the original artwork on the right hand side and the printed page with the type and commentary on the left hand side. Richard ran with it. He scanned all of the originals, plus the printed pages and worked with Wendy to provide the commentary. This book came out far greater than I could ever have imagined a year ago. It is simply gorgeous. The narrative alone between Richard and Wendy for every page of story alone is impressive. As you turn the book pages it’s as if they are sitting and reading the story with you and offering every backstory and note about each nuance of the story and art. There are a few areas where Wendy gets emotional while reminiscing about certain story situations. It will make your eyes water.

The stories within this collection include Heart’s Way, Little Patch, Rogue’s Curse, The Jury and Wolfwood and “Rogue’s Challenge” from Hidden Years 9 1/2. Richard was even able to obtain an afterword by John Byrne whose inked pages for “Rogue’s Challenge” are included in the book.

I’ve got to add one more thing, which is that this book was not going to be published unless our Kickstarter campaign was successful. This is truly a book that was born out of passion and appreciation for Wendy, Richard and Elfquest. Thank you, everyone!

I sent the book to the printer over the weekend. I ended up spending four full days reviewing every aspect of the book and color adjusting the artwork. The book has been beautifully designed by Arpad Terek. The next step is to review the printer proofs. Once approved, the book will go to press.

I want to thank Wendy and Richard for allowing me the honor to publish this book. It’s going to be a pleasure to deliver the book to our Kickstarter supporters and to those who pre-ordered.



John Flesk

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Announcing the Spectrum 23 Awards Ceremony & “Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 5” Date Change

CONTACT: JOHN FLESKES/Director Spectrum Fantastic Art

Announcing the Spectrum 23 Awards Ceremony & “Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 5” Date Change

Santa Cruz, CA, February 4, 2016 – With the goal of continuing the tradition of a spring awards ceremony, Director John Fleskes has announced that the honors for Spectrum 23 will be presented at a gala to be held at the historic Society of Illustrators in New York City on May 7, 2016. “For the previous four years, we were able to hold the awards ceremony in conjunction with the ‘Spectrum Fantastic Art Live’ convention,” says Fleskes, “but the plans to move the show to San Francisco prevented our doing that in 2016. Celebrating the achievements of the artists and providing an opportunity for the community to gather have always been our top priorities, and there is no better place to accomplish both than at the Society of Illustrators.”

The ceremony will be held on Saturday evening from 6 to 10 p.m. A complimentary small-plates buffet will be offered to attendees, and a cash bar will be available. Along with the presentation of Gold and Silver Awards in Spectrum’s eight categories, a memorial video will be shown, and the 2016 Rising Star and Grand Master honorees will be announced. Seating will be limited, and attendees will be asked to RSVP at a site to be announced the first week in April. The Spectrum awards are once again being sculpted and cast in bronze by Colin and Kristine Poole.

“The second announcement, after much deliberation with the Spectrum Advisory Board, is that we’re moving the dates for ‘Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 5’ to May 2017,” adds Fleskes. The event was originally planned for October 2016 in association with The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. A number of logistical issues could not be resolved, however, and the school will no longer be involved with the show in an official capacity. “We have a wonderful relationship with the university and instructors, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations with them in the future,” explains Fleskes. “A May date is preferable for many of our exhibitors and attendees, and the school’s schedule is full in the spring. We also want to hold SFAL5 in a space that is more convenient and inviting for everyone. Accessibility and amenities were both limited at the facility we had originally intended to use, which necessitated reconsidering our plans.”

Several exciting venues in San Francisco are currently under review. The intention is to announce the location and dates and to start taking booth reservations in early May. Spectrum co-founder Arnie Fenner says, “Anyone who attended any of the first four shows in Kansas City knows that, first and foremost, we care about the details of the event and the experiences of exhibitors and attendees alike. In order to do SFAL5 properly—in order to grow the opportunities for the artists and the community as a whole—it is taking us a little extra time to ensure that we get off on the right foot in a new city. Trust me when I say that SFAL5 will only be better with the few additional months we’ll be able to devote to its planning. Cathy, John and I will all be in New York for the awards ceremony on May 7 and look forward to answering any and all questions about the big show—as well as other activities we have planned in the future.”

Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art is the award-winning and internationally renowned art-book annual established in 1993 by Cathy and Arnie Fenner. The contents of each book is determined by a competition that is open to all artists. A jury of peers—different each year—selects the best works from those entered for inclusion in the book and presents awards in eight categories.

The prestigious Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators in New York City has hosted three exhibitions dedicated to Spectrum, shattering its special-event attendance records. It is a sponsor of “Spectrum Fantastic Art Live,” a yearly convention devoted to creators of all disciplines and sensibilities. Spectrum is published annually by the Santa Cruz-based Flesk Publications and is distributed globally by Publishers Group West.

To learn more about Spectrum, visit www.spectrumfantasticart.com.

For more information, contact:

JOHN FLESKES / 408-206-2346.

Spectrum Fantastic Art, 2871 Mission St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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