Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2017

I’m back in studio from Spectrum Fantastic Art Live and this was my favorite SFAL yet. What a tremendous weekend of world-class art, amazing friends, and celebration. Thank you to John Fleskes + Cathy and Arnie Fenner for making this all happen, along with incredible collaborators such as Carl Anderson, Jeff Smith, Mark Roth, Kathy Chu, Monica Carson, Arlo Burnett, and more.

It was an honor to be one of the Spectrum Award presenters Saturday night, and that felt like a perfect culmination of the jury responsibility. I was grateful to be a part of the effort, and I’m really proud of the finalist and medal selections that my fellow judges and I chose for the upcoming annual. So much emotion during this year’s ceremony. It was great to see, as was the energy of this show from both pros and fans.

I loved the new facility and thought the artist booth layout fit well. I’d love to see SFAL happen here in future years. I think there’s no longer any question that Kansas City can carry SFAL on a permanent basis. It’s not because of any one particular factor, and it wasn’t because of any massive influx of attendees, but I think it’s the feeling that the group of people listed above are made of too much win for this effort to fail. I think SFAL is a few key personnel away from being a major international art destination for art buyers. Kansas City can support this show without a doubt, and we’ll wistfully look back on these formative years as the ‘remember when you actually had elbow-room at SFAL’ years. The quality of the artists in attendance, the quality of the show’s signage and the operation, as well as the overall production value of the whole event — those are rock-solid and world-class. The level of outreach and marketing will catch up, but it’s not because of a lack of effort or brainpower. It’s a matter of a few more foot soldiers and a few more key champions behind-the-scenes to complement the extraordinary team that is already in place. They’re giving max effort and I’m especially in amazement at the job that Carl, Jeff, and Mark do. They seem to have eight arms and the ability to teleport. When this team gets a few more key pieces to carry the buildup to the event, this show will explode to a whole new stratospheric level.

As it stands right now, there’s no other art happening quite like SFAL, and if you missed this year, then you missed out bigtime. The energy, camaraderie, and inspiration from both the art and the artists was off-the-charts. On a personal note — I had my most successful sales year ever at an SFAL, thanks to my ‘La Botella’ drawing selling to one of my favorite collectors. Loteria Grande Cards sold briskly. I loved watching my fellow artists such as Donato Giancola, Allen Williams, Colin and Kristine Poole, and more have really solid sales at this event as well.

It was the best of times, and I hope we get to do it all over again next year, Kansas City.

WORLDS BEYOND GALLERY: VIEWS AND NOTES

It’s been several weeks since Worlds Beyond Gallery and Alamo City Comic Con, and even though I posted a brief post-show ‘thank you’ last month, you can enjoy some additional photos of the event below. First, I have some wrap-up thoughts to share. This exhibition / vendor model was a collaboration between The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (headed by President Sara Felix), Alamo City Comic Con (featuring the combined brainpower of Apple De La Fuente, Austin Rogers, and Wes Hartman), and me. Media-centric pop culture and comic book conventions are proliferating across the country, but very of these cons have successful models for booking and presenting top-quality professional illustrator talents. Unfortunately, when these shows feature such artists, they usually mix them into Artist Alley situations with sequential art pros, who are themselves competing with a tsunami of unlicensed knockoff art product. The result is generally less than optimal. Until Worlds Beyond, there have been precious few (if any) successful efforts to brand, present, promote, market and cultivate that audience within major media / pop-culture-centric conventions. San Diego Comic Con International does it well in its own way, but with the growing number of mid-market regional pop-culture / comic conventions, there seem to be experiments worth trying and a void worth filling. That was one vector that led to Worlds Beyond Gallery happening, but there was another equally important one.

On a personal note — I see my pro art career shifting toward more of a ‘creator-owned’ model, developing my own intellectual properties, and writing / illustrating my own stories. That doesn’t mean I’m jettisoning my career as a freelance illustrator, but it does mean investing more time on my own material than I did for the first fifteen years of my career. I’m not alone in this career shape, as major illustrators such as Brom, Peter Mohrbacher, Ruth Sanderson, Jeffrey Alan Love, and Todd Lockwood have made similar choices, along with Shaun Tan, Gregory Manchess, Wylie Beckert, Greg Ruth, Tara McPherson, and a rising number of visually-centric entrepreneurs. That means new stories, new characters, new properties, new art, and new visions, as opposed to just talented artists re-drawing other people’s properties. It means the visual artist is the creative fountainhead and owner of his/her destiny, and I think that renaissance is worth celebrating with pop-culture audiences craving the next shock of the new. That curatorial focus coupled with the need to connect new streams of art audiences with new visual creators was the inspiration for Worlds Beyond Gallery. (Big salute to Pete Barnstrom for the terrific WBG promo video, and Lou Anders doing his own thing with the separate ACCC / Young Adventurers literary track, as well as all of the ACCC volunteers and WBG booth assistants).

Patrick and Jeanne Wilshire and the exhibition / vendor model they created at Illuxcon deserve a huge shoutout. So do Arnie and Cathy Fenner and what they have cultivated with Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (now working alongside John Fleskes). Those two shows were HUGE inspirations for what was done with Worlds Beyond Gallery, but they’re also independent events — a VERY different proposition from what WBG may have just established.

Worlds Beyond Gallery marked the creation of a working boutique model that can now be evolved, expanded, and improved. All of the artists brought their ‘A-game’ and considering this was a first-time effort, I think the event was a remarkable success. Everyone presented their latest creator-owned works, including a wide array of original artwork available for buying and up-close enjoyment, such as my first official Loteria original art exhibition. Throngs of fans old and new bought merchandise and art from all of the artists. Representatives from other major conventions expressed amazement and awe when they saw the foot traffic and the polish of the display and exhibitions. Who knows — maybe someday we’ll look back upon this as a game changer. Sara and I have been exchanging thoughts. Once the ACCC guys have recovered from staging a huge convention, they’ll possibly have a thought or two about what they experienced. We’ll look at the options and see where this goes. I’m excited about the possibilities. Onward to the next evolution.

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SETTING UP: Gallery walls were over eight feet tall and sixteen inches thick.

 

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BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME: Fans flowed through Worlds Beyond Gallery all weekend long. The format of the space wowed congoers, and created an intimate art experience not previously seen at this convention.

 

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IN LOTERIA WE TRUST: Worlds Beyond Gallery marked my first official Loteria original art exhibition — displaying eight of my original drawings together for the first time. The first series of my Loteria Grande art cards completely sold out at this show and won’t be reprinted in that format.

 

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LA SIRENA AND COMPANY: Here’s a closer look at four of my Loteria originals, as we head toward Brom’s display.

 

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LOST GODS: Brom exhibited some of the original paintings from his new LOST GODS book.

 

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BEFORE THE STORM: Brom encouraged fans to venture into his booth to view originals up close, as did all of the WBG artists.

 

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SWARMED: This is what Brom’s booth looked like for much of the weekend. He signed books and prints galore, and his LOST GODS book was a hot item.

 

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GOLDEN KEY: Ruth Sanderson presented a terrific display of originals and prints. Her scratchboard work is stunning to behold.

 

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WELCOME TO ANGELARIUM: Here’s Peter Mohrbacher’s assistant Sasha holding down the fort, as Pete exhibited a wide array of limited-run prints and merchandise related to his ANGELARIUM universe.

 

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STRENGTH IN SIMPLICITY: Jeffrey Alan Love presented a gridded array of over forty small original works, hung with mere binder clips. It was an elegant presentation that encouraged art traffic and sales, while promoting his debut graphic novel NOTES FROM THE SHADOWED CITY– which sold out before show’s end.

 

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NO PHOTOS PLEASE: Dragon artist extraordinaire Todd Lockwood presented a gorgeous display of limited-edition prints, posters, and merchandise, while autographing his new book THE SUMMER DRAGON all weekend long.

 

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DRAGON LOVE: I don’t know how many copies of THE SUMMER DRAGON Todd shipped to Worlds Beyond, but it was a lot, and few remained by show’s end.

 

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TAKING IT ALL IN: It was fun to see people step into the Worlds Beyond space and not want to leave. It truly felt like a mothership of the illustrative arts landed in the middle of a comic book convention.

 

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2016 WORLDS BEYOND GALLERY ARTISTS: (l to r) Ruth Sanderson, Brom, Peter Mohrbacher, John Picacio, Todd Lockwood, Jeffrey Alan Love

And if that’s not enough for you — here’s some more Worlds Beyond Gallery fun. 🙂

LOTERIA: THE ORIGINAL ART

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This past October, I was proud to exhibit eight of my Loteria final graphite drawings together for the first time at Worlds Beyond Gallery, co-sponsored by Alamo City Comic Con and The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA). I spent many days and nights drawing these, and this was the first time these beloved originals were formally exhibited together. It was fun watching people circulate through the display, eyeballing the work up close. Over the years, I’ve turned down several buy offers because I wanted to present them together at a special occasion like Worlds Beyond.

Now that I’ve done that, these eight originals are now available for sale, and I suspect some of them will sell very quickly. All prices include shipping within the continental United States. Please email me with questions and inquiries. john (at) johnpicacio (dot) com

(below)  LA SIRENAWINNER / 2013 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / SOLD2sirenagraphite(below)  LA CALAVERAFINALIST / 2015 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $65007calaveragraphite(below)  EL VENADOFINALIST / 2015 Chesley Award for Best Unpublished Monochrome Work • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $50006venadographite(below)  LA BOTELLA • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $50001botellagraphite(below)  EL ARPAFINALIST / 2014 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $65008arpagraphite(below)  LA LUNAFINALIST / 2014 Chesley Award for Best Unpublished Monochrome Work • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $65004lunagraphite(below)  EL MUNDO • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $50005mundographite(below)  EL ARBOLWINNER / 2016 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration • Graphite on Strathmore 500 Bristol • Professionally-framed and matted with Masterpiece Acrylic • 11″ x 18″ (raw original dimension) • 17″ x 24″ (framed dimension) / $70003arbolgraphite

Worlds Beyond Gallery • Thank You, SA!

The Worlds Beyond Gallery Artists / Alamo City Comic Con 2016: Ruth Sanderson, Brom, Peter Mohrbacher, John Picacio, Todd Lockwood, and Jeffrey Alan Love.

The Worlds Beyond Gallery Artists / Alamo City Comic Con 2016: Ruth Sanderson, Brom, Peter Mohrbacher, John Picacio, Todd Lockwood, and Jeffrey Alan Love. (Photo by Sara Felix / ASFA President)

If you saw the Worlds Beyond Gallery this weekend at Alamo City Comic Con, you experienced something that hasn’t quite been done before at a major pop culture convention — a museum-level exhibition of original contemporary sf/f artwork with the creators live and in-person all weekend, meeting fans and signing merchandise within a custom-built museum environment. True — there are amazing illustrator lineups at San Diego Comic Con, NYCC, and other major cons, but none of those experiences coupled the art and the talent with the architectural and spatial experience that was just produced within a media con like ACCC, with the invaluable sponsorship support of The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA).

Ruth Sanderson, Brom, Peter Mohrbacher, Todd Lockwood, Jeffrey Alan Love and I were the six artists featured, and wow, there was some artistic firepower on those walls and tables. I said it earlier today on Twitter, but I felt the world tilt a little after watching thousands of people flow through the walls of this exhibition this weekend, eyeballs popping wide, mouths agape. I saw thousands of people stunned by the work of illustrators creating their own intellectual properties and telling their own stories in words and pictures, and I saw those thousands spending money strong and steady on this, instead of row after row of knockoff licensed property art.

If you weren’t there, you truly missed one of the best sf/f art happenings of 2016. From my vantage point, it was a joy to see my artist pals succeed. I loved watching Pete sell out of his ANGELARIUM card decks. I loved watching Brom sell out of all of his books. I loved watching Jeff sell out his copies of NOTES FROM THE SHADOWED CITY. I loved watching Todd sell almost every copy of THE SUMMER DRAGON. I loved watching big gaps open up on Ruth’s display as artworks sold to happy collectors. And I loved watching the first series of my Loteria Grande cards completely sell out forever.

The camaraderie amongst the artists was one of my very favorite experiences of recent years. We helped each other. We rooted for each other. We ate and drank together. We talked shop together. The ‘we’ was bigger than the ‘me’. While the initial spark of this venture may have been my idea, it was teamwork that made the whole thing work. It was fun watching representatives of other conventions wonder how this was done, and ask what it would take to have our lineup appear at their show with an experience like this.

After it was over, we ventured to the home of a world-class sf/f art collector here in SA, and it felt like we all went to church together, mesmerized by the original works of Virgil Finlay, Richard Powers, Ian Miller, John Berkey, Don Maitz, Michael Whelan, Bernie Wrightson, J. Allen St. John, Ed Emshwiller, and so many more art legends. It took so much work to make Worlds Beyond Gallery happen, but it was all worth it.

Where does something like this go from here? I don’t know yet, but I will soon. I’m still assessing what just happened in the months leading into this show, as well as the show itself. I do think the key word is ‘evolve’. I purposely wanted this exhibition to celebrate the works of contemporary fantastic artists creating their own properties and I know that was the right call, and it will continue to be the right call moving forward. Anything less than that is selling this short, within pop-culture convention environments starved for this kind of originality and art value. Major applause to Apple De La Fuente, Sara Felix, Austin Rogers, Wes Hartman, Merlin, Elaine Ryan, Becky Searson, Pete Barnstrom, Jose Guajardo and all of the people who helped make Worlds Beyond Gallery not only a reality, but an unqualified success for fans and artists alike. And most of all, thank you to all of the art lovers who experienced an sf/f art happening that will likely reverberate for years to come.

Worlds Beyond Gallery!

SIXPACKworldsbeyondHRIf you love science fiction / fantasy art, San Antonio, TX is the place-to-be this Halloween weekend. Alamo City Comic Con and the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists are bringing together six major fantasy illustrators for an unforgettable weekend of original art, merchandise, and autographings. The event is called Worlds Beyond Gallery and it features a lineup of professional art talent unlike any previously seen in San Antonio. I’m proud to be part of this inaugural art roster, joining Brom, Todd Lockwood, Ruth Sanderson, Jeffrey Alan Love, and Peter Mohrbacher as this year’s guests. Your WBG admission is free with the purchase of an Alamo City Comic Con admission badge, and it all happens at ACCC this October 28-30 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

ACCC and ASFA are offering San Antonio the chance to help expand the arts tradition and expectations in this city. As a native San Antonian, I’ve often heard locals lament that big cities such as New York, LA, Seattle, and Philadelphia score the coolest new art happenings, while SA misses out. Opportunities are rare for a city to prove itself as an arts leader and build a burgeoning fantasy art market for which other cities can only dream. That’s the opportunity facing San Antonio this October. What can you do to further the cause? It’s easy.

BE THERE. Get your ACCC badge today and make Worlds Beyond one of your must-see Halloween destinations this year. Be inspired by some of the most imaginative artists working in sf/f, and enjoy one of America’s fastest-growing pop culture conventions.

SPREAD THE BUZZ. Visit the Worlds Beyond Gallery Facebook Page and give it a ‘Like’. To receive updates on the show, visit the Worlds Beyond Gallery Event Page and let them know you’re ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’. These gestures may seem super-easy, but they’re both a big boost. If you don’t do Facebook — no worries. Use your favorite social media to tell your art-loving friends about Worlds Beyond.

SEIZE THE MOMENT. Start planning your Worlds Beyond visit today. This will be the first appearance in San Antonio for many of the featured artists, and their art is coveted by collectors throughout the world. If you’re an art collector, this will be a rare chance to acquire originals and prints directly from the artists without the perils of online buying and shipping. PRO TIP: When you come to ACCC, make WBG one of your early booth destinations. The artists are bringing a limited supply of originals and merchandise with them, and much of it will likely sell quickly. If you’re an aspiring illustrator or student, bring your portfolio. Socialize. Ask questions. Use this opportunity to improve your craft. PRO TIP: Be courteous, and choose the time wisely when asking for portfolio advice. If an artist has customers waiting, let he/she attend to those transactions. Be patient and wait for an appropriate moment to approach for advice. 

CREATORS FTW! Yes, all of the artists in this WBG lineup are major professional artists who have enjoyed successful commercial art careers, but all of the artists were chosen because they’re each developing their own creative properties. Some are writer / illustrators. Some are developing intellectual properties and merchandising lines. Some are doing both. All are building creator-owned careers and Worlds Beyond was designed by ACCC and ASFA to celebrate that. It’s true that amongst the six, you’ll see artwork commissioned by familiar franchises such as Star Trek, the X-Men, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, A Song of Ice and Fire, and many, many more, but what sets this event apart is it’s an exhibition of contemporary fantastic art and storymaking wholly owned by the visual creators. This isn’t just the future of art, folks. This is the now, and I’m proud to be part of a growing number of pro artists helping to blaze that path for others to follow and succeed.

HALLOWEEN COSPLAY ON THE RIVERWALK!! Need I say more? How epic is the cosplay going to be at this show?? Show off your costume with all of us at Worlds Beyond, even if your best disguise is yourself. 🙂 We can’t wait to see who you become. We can’t wait to see you there.

(Video by Pete Barnstrom for Alamo City Comic Con.)

Comicpalooza 2016

ClWOlm8UoAE5gjpBack in studio after a weekend guesting at Comicpalooza 2016 in Houston. Great con, great fans.

Thank you, HTown, for buying every single Loteria Grande pack that I brought with me. Sold out of my stock at the show. Loteria Posters were flying. Loved meeting so many of you and watching the Loteria Army grow.

Thanks to all of the writers and artists who swung by my Artists Alley booth to visit. Really enjoyed talking shop and drinking scotch with C. Robert Cargill and Adam Rakunas.

Thank you to John Simons, JJ Shaw, Mark Schmidt, Vijay Kale, James Burns, and the entire CP team for giving their all to put on a dynamite convention. Comicpalooza reminds me a lot of Alamo City Comic Con here in SA, in that it’s an event run on heart and soul. There are a lot of volunteers giving everything they have so that fans and pros have a great experience. I love the way they mix some of the writers and artists into the celebrity area. I love the little details they do like providing banners for all of the guests, including the creatives. It’s smart business. This was my first time guesting at Comicpalooza and next year, I hope to bring even more Loteria Lovers and ASoIaF fans to the show.

Thank You, Balticon 50!

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Great times this past weekend at Balticon 50, where George R. R. Martin and I were Guests of Honor, along with Mark Van Name, Fran Wilde, Alexandra Duncan, Kim Stanley Robinson, and an impressive roster of past GoHs such as Charles Stross, Peter Beagle, Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, and more. The level of creative talent in the building felt like a miniature version of Worldcon.

GRRM and me during the onstage "Conversation" event. That was fun. :)

GRRM and me during the onstage “Conversation” event. That was fun. 🙂

Huge congratulations to Nora Echeverria and the entire con com for achieving the single largest Balticon attendance ever. THANK YOU to all of the con attendees who packed the seats for my programming items– and especially my Loteria game session and onstage interview with GRRM, which were filled to capacity. Great job by Sarah Pinsker and Michael R. Underwood on their Dangerous Voices Variety Hour event. Thank you to Fan Guests of Honor Martin Deusch, Shirley Avery, Sue, Nora, Anna, Meredith, Filthy + the Art Show staff for setting up a terrific Art Show and thank you to all who made it a big success as almost all of my A Song of Ice and Fire artwork sold out, along with so many framed originals and prints. I sold out of Loteria Grande Card Sets and signed countless items at my Artists Alley table. Before the con even began, George and I pre-signed 500 limited-edition copies of a new GRRM hardcover novella that I illustrated called In The House of the Worm. (Special thanks to Sean Wallace for making it happen.) This convention was an intense and absolute joy.

I had a blast spending time with George, Parris, Lenore, and Jo. Enjoyed the conversations and quality minutes that I had with so many pros and fans. Always much love and best of times with The Hardest Buckaroos — the Brotherhood Without Banners — Martha, Doug, Christine, Eddie, Neal, Yags, Pod, Kristina, Dave, Douglas, Caryn, Meg, Bill and everyone. Special shoutout to my IMPALED PHALLUS bandmates! 😉

So many people gave their all to make this con happen, as is always the case with fan-run conventions (thank you, Allison, Adrienne, Joe, Roy, Anna, and all). Did Balticon have massive problems with its programming schedule? Absolutely. And yet, thanks to the grit and resilience of diehard volunteers, I saw nothing but joy from every fan I encountered. Romeo Capriotti, this is for you. (Thea, change the words to “woman” and “ma’am” and same applies.) You did a great job, Romeo. Best GoH Liaison I could ask for.

Linda Wenzelburger: Your take on my “La Calavera” is one of my favorite cosplays EVER! Gorgeous work! Made my con. <applause>

Linda Wenzelburger's completely awesome "La Calavera" cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my "La Calavera" Loteria artwork.)

Linda Wenzelburger’s completely awesome “La Calavera” cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my “La Calavera” Loteria artwork.)

You were amazing, Balticon. In closing, I’m going to share some words from Nora, who chaired this event. This is from her FB page, and I hope she won’t mind. I think it adds some much-needed context.

“i want to thank everyone who helped organize, work, volunteer and attend Balticon 50. You ALL made this an amazing show.

In particular i want to thank Jonette Butler for coming up with the idea for bringing back our Alumni Guests of Honor and for being the driving force behind that and our fundraising projects. Because of her, we were able to raise well over $55,000 AND bring back every Guest of Honor Alumnus who wished to attend. And they all had a wonderful time.”

And especially the following words:

“At the end of the day, Balticon is run by volunteers. We do not take a salary, we have jobs and families and other obligations, i.e., LIFE. We work hard but we make mistakes. We aim for the moon and sometimes we hit it and sometimes we crash back down to earth. We all come together to do this out of our love for the genre and of fandom.”

Well said, Nora — and thank you again, Balticon and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society! It was an honor to be with you!

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.

JordanCon Art Show Preview!

A few of the archival prints available at JordanCon’s Art Show this coming weekend: The top two rows will be signed, limited-edition 17″ x 22″ and will be selling for $125 each, and the bottom row will be 11″ x 14″ at $50 each.

Hey, ATL: Come see me at JordanCon this coming weekend, April 22-24! I’m the Artist Guest of Honor, and here’s a sneak peek of some of the swag I’ll be bringing to the Art Show. Inquire now if you see something you want. WORD TO THE WISE: Many of these will disappear quickly. Visit the Art Show early! Don’t wait until Sunday. 🙂

If you’re a GAME OF THRONES fan or SONG OF ICE AND FIRE hardcore devotee, I’ll be bringing a VERY LIMITED supply of signed archival ASoIaF prints. 11″ x 14″ will be $50. Selected 17″ x 22″ archival prints will be $125, and will have a free archival bag and archival board included with each purchase — which is a special JordanCon bonus that you don’t receive if you order online for the same price!

Original final drawing of Tyrion Lannister for the 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. Art © 2012 John Picacio.

Final drawing of Tyrion Lannister for the 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. Art © 2012 John Picacio.

I’ll also be exhibiting my Tyrion Lannister original art from the best-selling 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. GRRM owns several of the originals from this calendar set, and this is one of the few remaining finals available for sale. Bid in the JordanCon Art Show and add this one-of-a-kind to your wall collection!

Heads up — if you have a particular favorite artwork that you want me to bring, ping before 12 noon CST, Tuesday April 19th and I’ll do what I can to check what has been sent to JordanCon and/or try to bring it with me. No guarantees, but it doesn’t hurt for you to ask. Email: john (at) johnpicacio (dot) com

(top): Loteria posters available at Jordancon this weekend (NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE) // (bottom): The first eleven Loteria Grande cards, available as a set at JordanCon for the low price of $20

(top): Loteria posters available at Jordancon this weekend (NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE) // (bottom): The first eleven Loteria Grande cards, available as a set at JordanCon for the low price of $20

I’ll also be bringing a limited supply of my Loteria posters (El Corazon, La Calavera, and La Luna) for $20 each. These posters are NOT available online, so buy early in the Art Show before they sell out. There will also be a limited supply of my popular Loteria Grande cards at $20 per set. Expect these to sell out quickly as they’ll be priced lower than online. If you’re a card collector, art lover, or tarot aficionado, you’ll love these. And speaking of the game of Loteria (AKA “Mexican Bingo”) — come play and win terrific prizes at 4pm on Saturday! (Perimeter Pavilion — Tables 8 to 12).

My complete schedule is as follows:

I’ll be hanging out in the Art Show:

FRIDAY — 4pm to 7pm
SATURDAY — 10am to 12noon / 2:45pm to 3:45pm / 5:45pm to 7pm
SUNDAY — 10am to 11am

Except for the following events and times, where you can find me:

FRIDAY — 1pm to 2:30pm // OPENING CEREMONIES (Carter)

SATURDAY — 1pm to 2:30pm // THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO (Washington)

SATURDAY — 4pm to 5:30pm // LOTERIA (Perimeter Pavilion — Tables 8 to 12)

SATURDAY — 6:30pm to 7pm // JUDGES CHOICE AWARD (Art Show)

SUNDAY — 11:30am to 1pm // FROM METROPOLIS TO THE MATRIX (Tyler)

SUNDAY — 1pm to 2:30pm // PAY THE ARTIST! (Washington)

And last but certainly not least — WHO WANTS TO WATCH THE GAME OF THRONES PREMIERE ON SUNDAY NIGHT? LET’S GET TOGETHER AND DO THIS, JORDANCON!

Holler. 🙂

HBOjonsnow

 

Artists Beware!

 

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Artists — how do you feel about someone who says, “Give us your ideas for free. If we decide we like one of them, we’ll use it for our own personal branding and for our own prestige. We will hire someone to make multiple images of it and that person will not receive compensation either. We have zero respect for any of you as working professionals.”

As of today, that’s the official message that the World Fantasy Convention just transmitted to all professional artists as the WFC searches for a new image for their World Fantasy Award. See their new “World Fantasy Award Call for Submissions”.

That’s right. Your ideas and your work — for nothing.

It’s an extremely unprofessional message, and it’s not one that befits experienced professionals. It says to all of its members — writers, editors, agents, publishers — that the organization doesn’t value its own branding enough to properly invest in it. That’s very sad to see.

Throughout my career, I’ve had fellow professional artists such as Michael Whelan, Bob Eggleton, and Greg Manchess take the time to point me in the right direction, whether it was toward a worthy opportunity, or away from a predatory situation. I try to do the same for others. Pay it forward.

This is one of those moments.

If you’re an artist who wishes to submit free ideas and free work to this process — don’t do it. Save your energy. Take your ideas and your hard work and channel them into conduits and clients where your work is valued.

Recently, the writer Wil Wheaton eloquently refused to trade his writing for ‘exposure’ from the Huffington Post. He’s a major celebrity. He’s presumably doing well financially. The compensation amount probably wasn’t a big deal to him one way or the other, but he knew better than to accept nothing for his work. It wasn’t just the wrong thing for himself, but it set a bad precedent for writers who are less advantaged than him, who are much more easily preyed upon, and who depend on fair compensation for their work in order to make a living wage. He took a stand. These acts matter.

I’m not Wil Wheaton. I don’t have his celebrity power. It’s important to say this though, and I hope it helps my fellow artists and the creative community at-large:

As a past World Fantasy Award winner and frequent attendee of the World Fantasy Convention, I encourage all artists to boycott this process and do not give your work or ideas to this convention for free. ‘Exposure’ and ‘prestige’ are not enough.

Expect better.

In fact, expect the best.

Keep working towards it every day. Don’t fall prey to an unprofessional overture such as this one. And if you see artists who are more established than you falling prey, ask yourself why and how you might approach the situation better. Don’t follow someone else’s example blindly.

As for the WFC, I’m sorry to see it inflict itself with this black eye.

It’s a convention with assets, even if it doesn’t want to compensate artists with money. It could have compensated all professional 3D artists who submitted ideas with a membership to a future WFC. It could have compensated the winning sculptor with a lifetime WFC membership. It could have found any number of creative solutions.

Instead, it chooses to send the message that artists’ work and ideas for a new World Fantasy Award are worth nothing, and in turn that the convention’s new image is worth the same.

Onward to better expectations and better days.

The New World Fantasy Award: What’s Next?

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The World Fantasy Convention’s board of trustees has decided to evolve their award from a bust of H.P. Lovecraft (crafted by Gahan Wilson) to a brand-new, yet-undecided design. There’s been a ton of debate and reaction to this topic.

Bottom line: I applaud the WF board on their decision and I’m looking forward to what’s next for this award. So yeah — what IS next? Decisions, decisions…..

Here’s the thing — often, the key to making a good decision is first asking the right question.

We can all watch random people lobbing ideas and concepts, seeking answers for the award’s new design that best endorse their pet interests. You’ve probably already seen some. Not surprisingly, many of these ideas spring from a very Eurocentric view of fantasy that seems a bit tone-deaf to a shifting ethnic and cultural spectrum amongst audience and creators alike. Some advocate for a favorite fantasy form that makes them feel nostalgic — a dragon, an elf, a green man, for instance. Others advocate that the award should resemble a person that perhaps makes them feel comfortable, or reflects themselves.

These responses seem myopic and panicked, borne of an unspoken open question: “What should the award look like?”

If I were a decision maker in this process (and THANK GHOD, I’m not), I would offer that’s NOT the right question to ask right now, and thus, it’s no surprise that the answers so far are less than optimal. In fact, unless you’re a professional sculptor, you’re probably not the most qualified to find the ‘answer’. I’m not either. I’m a working professional illustrator and a storyteller who keeps trying to be a better artist every day, but I’m not a professional sculptor. And thus, I’m probably not as qualified to conceive and create this sculpture as an artist who does sculpt for a living. However, my job as an illustrator does require me to be a strong problem-solver, and that means knowing how to ask good questions.

Thus, here’s some brief advice I can offer the decision makers, and to all who share my interest in the future of this award:

1. THE FIRST QUESTION NEEDS TO BE THE RIGHT ONE. In this case, I would offer that the first question should not be, “Hey, World: what do you think this award should look like?” The first question should be, “Who are the best sculptors and who is the sculptor that can best elevate this award toward a new timeless icon? Who can carry this responsibility? Who can take us to a place we could not have imagined on our own?” The same respect that is given to a great novelist should be given to a great sculptor here.

The sculptor of this award needs to be an artist, first and foremost — someone who solves problems, conceives original thoughts, has unique insights, and visually communicates those thoughts, insights, emotions and intangibles into tangible form. If the plan is to take a straw poll of the most popular and familiar symbols and word pictures, or to concoct a preordained vision and then hire some poor sap to carefully sculpt to that prescription, then please hire a pharmacist, not a professional artist. However, the World Fantasy Award can do better than that, and I’m hoping it will. If I were a decision maker in this process, I would be sky-high excited about the amazing creative (and branding) opportunity ahead, and I would be vigorously searching for the right sculptor to cast a new icon, rather than casting a fishing line praying to hook an idea.

The making of this icon is the kind of job that visual artists are uniquely qualified to do. I most trust an artist to do this job of researching, idea-making, conceiving and creating a new visual icon — just as I most trust a surgeon to operate on me, or an architect to design a house, rather than the other way around.  This is a job for a visual artist who professionally sculpts, not a committee, not a straw poll of writers, readers, and historians. In short — the sculptor making the award should decide what the best idea is, what it looks like, and then present that form to the decision makers for them to decide if it’s ‘the one’.

The single most important question facing this award right now: “Who is that sculptor?”

In my opinion — asking this question, and doing the requisite selection work, is the key mission for the award’s decision makers.

2) CHOOSING THE SCULPTOR. Creating this award is a job –and wow, THAT’S an understatement! 😉 It should be a paid gig — probably a well-paid one considering the stakes, the importance of the result, and the rights involved. In contrast, an ‘open call for ideas’ that preys upon artists to generate work for free, even if they’re just sketches, would be ill-advised and bad PR, and I would advocate that no professional artist should answer that call and undercut their own livelihood. The ideas are the job, just as much as the final sculpt. I would caution against giving those ideas away publicly, even if it’s to drum up popular momentum. This isn’t a popular election, after all. It’s a job, and most of us are not official components of the job’s process.  Instead, I think the best thing that we can all do (decision makers, creators, and readers alike) is educate ourselves on the pool of working sculptors that are out there — and promote them.

a) If I was a decision maker, I would scour the last few years of SPECTRUM: THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY FANTASTIC ART and the INFECTED BY ART annuals. I would research the last six or seven years of Chesley Award nominees in the Three-Dimensional category.

In fact, to all who are commenting via social media and campaigning for ideas — the best thing we can do to further this process is advocate for sculptor(s) that we think are best suited for the job — and try to articulate why. Shift your energy from firing shots in the dark about pet concepts, and instead boost the visibility of worthy sculptors. Link to their websites and their social media. Share some of your favorite images of their work.

b) Again, putting myself in a decision maker’s shoes — I would ask myself, “What are the questions that best lead me to the right sculptor for this job?” Here are a few questions that might help along the way:

• Does the sculptor’s work largely represent their own imagination or does it represent someone else’s?

• Does the sculptor’s work surprise? Does it invent? Does the sculptor’s work have a history of making forms and icons that haven’t quite been seen like that before?

• Does the sculptor’s work have the ability to be universal, or does it seem to reflect a limited cultural and ethnic viewpoint? Can this sculptor create an icon with a large enough ideological umbrella to not just include the world, but embrace it and elevate it?

• Does the sculptor’s work show the ability to problem-solve a variety of contexts? Is their work all literal? Is it all abstract? Is that artist capable of expressing within both realms? Does the sculptor’s approach to the job propagate his or her own brand more than it creates a unique brand for the award?

• Does the sculptor design their own work and then have someone ELSE cast it? Or does the sculptor design AND cast their own work from start to finish? This may be a very important production question for the board as they narrow down their sculptor choices.

3) BUILDING THE BEAST. I think once the decision makers have chosen their sculptor, I suggest that the next most important mission is shaping an environment where the artist is free to propose original ideas, problem-solve, and sculpt the final award, shielded from preordained ideas and agendas. This isn’t just what’s good for the sculptor. It’s about getting the most value from the artist during the course of the process. What comes out of the sculptor’s head is as important as what comes out of his or her hands. The sculptor will probably want to dialogue with the board as the process evolves, and that will likely be one of the most crucial parts of the whole endeavor.

This is brave new frontier. This is what artists live for. My sincere best wishes to the sculptor selected for this job and to the decision makers involved, and in closing, I’ll offer a few sculptor suggestions for consideration for this job. What are yours?

VINCENT VILLAFRANCA:

VINCENTVILLAFRANCA

If this decision were in my hands, this would be the sculptor I would choose. His work consistently innovates. It invents. It can be literal. It can be abstract. It can be both. He has the restless imagination that searches for new ideas and forms that elevate. He has experience dealing with the pressure of awards-making, having designed one of the most celebrated trophy bases in Hugo Awards history. He creates his own work from start to finish — from birthing the idea to final bronze, casting everything himself.

VIRGINIE ROPARS:

VIRGINIEHer ethereal and haunting work seems to own the Spectrum annual’s 3D category every year.

THE SHIFLETT BROTHERS:

SHIFLETTSThese guys do stunning work. Master creature makers.

CHARLES VESS:

The Barter Green in Abingdon, VA

He’s a four-time World Fantasy Award winner. He’s designed small sculptures and big ones. If he’s selected to sculpt the new one, and wins a fifth World Fantasy Award, would he get to award himself with his own sculpture? 🙂

Those are a few thoughts. Please share your own. Brainstorm. Explore. Discover. Share. Who would you like to see sculpt the new World Fantasy Award?

ACCC 2015: Amazing!

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Alamo City Comic Con was almost two weekends ago, but I’ve been so swamped by deadline work that I’m only now getting to post my thoughts on the event.

I exhibited in Artists Boulevard for the third year in a row and I can definitely say that with all of the road work I do in a given year, this show is one of my favorites anywhere, bar none. Why?

1) I don’t know what the attendance was this year, but last year, this con pulled 73,000 people. That was in only its SECOND year! The first effort garnered an amazing 35,000+. The attendance looked at least as big as last year, but it was hard to tell as the con had expanded to consume the vast majority of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. In terms of floor space, the show was bigger than ever. What I love is that this con is still in its early years, and it’s already experiencing exponential audience growth. Attendees are there for the comics, for the celebs, for the wrestlers, for the cosplay, for the toys, and most definitely — for the art. I can definitely tell that the art-buying audience is growing, and it still has a lot of ceiling to expand that audience even more. If the con keeps catering to those folks, I think it will grow in ways that a lot of comic cons never will.

2) There are a lot of things to love about ACCC attendees, but one of the best is that San Antonio LOVES Loteria. I’m talking to you, SA. All of you. THANK YOU for buying so many of my Loteria Grande cards and posters. THANK YOU for packing my Loteria session and making me run out of tablas because there were so many of you wanting to play the oldskool Loteria game. (Next year, I’ll bring even more!) And thanks to all of the Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones fans who bought my prints all weekend long. I had a blast visiting with all of you! Special shoutout to my Artist Boulevard neighbors: Chet Phillips, Scott Harben, and Lawrence Reynolds.

3) Last but not least — this con has an incredible staff of blue-collar demons and gold-hearted heroes. They’re gracious, professional, and they give their all to make a world-class event. I’m talking about Apple De La Fuente, Austin Rogers, Wes Hartman, Garrett Killian, Fred Bronaugh, Karla who runs the Volunteer Staff, and everyone who staffs, volunteers, and raises their game every year to make this con one of the best in the country. It’s astonishing what these people have built in three short years. Take a bow, Apple. Take a bow, everyone.

I looked at every one of these people after the show was over, and the only problem with them taking a bow is they all looked like they were going to keel over because they had given everything they had. So had I. It was a terrific weekend, and I’m already ready to do it better next year.

Ready for ACCC 2015!

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Come see me at Alamo City Comic Con this weekend. I’ll be there in Artist Boulevard at C17. VIPS: For Thursday night ONLY, I’ll have a 10% discount for you on all merchandise, including my George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire archival prints, Loteria cards and posters, Star Trek and X-Men art and much more.

In addition, all weekend long, everyone who makes a purchase from my table will score a free Star Wars 3D playing card, while supplies last.

I can’t wait to play Loteria on Saturday at 4pm in Room 205. Get there early. I’ll have terrific prizes for you, and it will be epic. 🙂

I’m amazed what Apple De La Fuente, Wes Hartman, Austin Rogers, Garrett Killian, and crew have done to build this event. This will be the third annual ACCC and San Antonio has never seen a pop culture event like this one. I’m stoked and honored to be an ACCC guest again.

Let’s do this, SA! 🙂

Loteria in New Mexico! Sasquan Wrapup!

I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, getting ready to appear at George R. R. Martin‘s Jean Cocteau Cinema Thursday at 7pm for “Loteria Fest”. It’ll be an evening of Loteria games and prizes (think Mexican Bingo), plus an exhibition of large-scale prints of my work where New Mexicans can score my limited-run cards and posters. I’m stoked. Be here, Santa Fe, and bring your friends. Let’s pack that place. Come score your prizes and Loteria goodies.

I arrived here yesterday from Spokane where Sasquan ruled the town, or at least what you could see of it, as it looked like Mordor due to all of the surrounding wildfire smoke. The Sasquan con com put on a great event overall, and my hat’s off to them as well as all who attended my programming and events! Special shoutout to all who visited me and bought my Loteria merchandise in Artists Alley. I SOLD OUT of all of the Loteria Grande cards I brought to the con. Well done, Spokane.

Favorite memories of the con for me? The Brotherhood Without Banners party and George R. R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party at the Glover Mansion. The former was epic as always (missed you, Martha and Doug), and the latter was a night for the ages.

I thought DC17 assembled a helluva bid for the 2017 Worldcon, but they lost out to Helsinki. So congrats to the Fins! Back to work here in Santa Fe, prepping for tomorrow’s big ‘Loteria Fest’. For now, here are a few Sasquan memories.

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ABOVE (clockwise from left): The Misfits were a terrific band at GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party. John Scalzi gets up close and personal with John W. Campbell Award winner Wesley Chu. Kristina Hiner and the legendary Lodey at the Losers Party. Packed house at the Glover Mansion as everyone gazes up at GRRM as he presents the inaugural Alfie Awards.

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ABOVE (clockwise from left): Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear at GRRM’s party. LOCUS’ Francesca Myman and Gail Carriger. A special moment when the late, great Jay Lake’s family came to visit and expressed their approval for Jay being included in my Loteria series. (They were so incredibly gracious.) Eddie Tannini, Nichole Giles, and Erik Kluth decked out at GRRM’s Losers Party.

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ABOVE: Helsinki 2017 supporters visited my Artists Alley table decked out in full regalia.

Go West!

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The World Science Fiction Convention is upon us.

I’ll have a display of works hanging in the Art Show, including a print of the new Loteria art for ‘El Arbol’, dedicated to Jay Lake. I’ll also be bringing limited supplies of Loteria Grande cards and posters AND 11″ x 14″ George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire prints. However, these will NOT be available in the Art Show, as you can purchase them directly from me, while supplies last, at my appearances marked with an (**).

And here’s a special offer just for you, Sasquan — you can reserve and pre-purchase any 17″ x 22″ print from my body of work — including George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire worksfor only $75 each! This is marked down from the usual $125 for the GRRM works, and $90 for all others. How do you get yours? Email me at john (at) johnpicacio (dot) com, with the subject heading: “Sasquan Special”. Let me know the prints you want and I’ll send you my Paypal details OR we can arrange for you to just pay at the con. Pick up your merchandise from me during my Autographing or during the Saturday Artist Alley hours, and you’ll be set. These prints are archival inks on archival Hahnemuhle paper. You’ll need to bring your own protective tube or carrying method, as these will be unbagged and unboarded. Reservation deadline is Monday, August 17th at 12noon CST, and this offer only applies to prints ordered via this offer, for pickup at Sasquan. Why am I doing this? Because I love you, people, but also because I’m not bringing a giant stack of bagged and boarded archival prints on this trip, as it’s too costly. So this is THE ONLY WAY to get big prints at bargain prices from me if you’re coming to Worldcon. Don’t wait to see what I have once you arrive because there won’t be a stack to flip through this time. Reserve your prints today, everyone. 🙂

Here’s where and when you can find me at Sasquan.

THURSDAY

** The Art of John Picacio • 11am-11:45am • Bays 111A (CC)
Slideshow + Q&A. I’ll be sneak-peeking and unveiling new work here. If you’ve got questions about my work — past, present, or future — bring ’em!

** Kaffee Klatche • 2pm-2:45pm • 202A-KK2 (CC)
Come one, come all. Bring your questions, and I’ll bring some Loteria Grande cards and posters and talk about what I’m working on + what’s coming.

Chesley Awards Ceremony + Reception • 7pm • 300D (CC)

FRIDAY

Tomorrow Stories: Successful Creators and Their Work • 10am-10:45am • Conference Theater 110 (CC)
Panelists: John Picacio, Craig Engler, Jeff Sturgeon, Kevin J. Anderson, Kurt Busiek
This will be fun. We’ll be talking about our creator-owned works in print, TV, and film. Learn how and why these projects came to be, and where they’re headed, in a world where more and more pro creators are owning their creative destinies.

** Autographing • 12noon-12:45pm • Exhibit Hall (CC)
Neil Clarke, William Dietz, Rhiannon Held, Mary Soon Lee, John Picacio, Charles Stross, Jo Walton

SATURDAY

** Artist & Author Alley • 10am-1:45pm • Between Art Show and Dealer’s Room
I’ll have a spread of original art and merchandise here at great prices. First come, first serve! 🙂

SUNDAY

** Loteria • 12noon-12:45pm • Exhibit Hall C / Guinan’s Cabaret (CC)
This is gonna be a blast. Wanna win prizes playing Mexican Bingo? Be here. Easy to learn and so much fun!

After Worldcon is over?

I’ll be coming your way, Santa Fe. Be at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema on Thursday, August 27th at 7pm. LOTERIA FEST!!

And then it’s your turn, Bubonicon. 🙂

See you soon, West Coast.

In Loteria We Trust.

ARMADILLOCON 2015: Where To Find Booze And Free Stuff. And Me.

NUESTRApicacio800I’ll have new work on display and for sale in the Armadillocon Art Show (hint: Invasion of the Body Snatchers + 2015 Chesley Award nominated works). For the first time, I’ll also be manning a table IN the Art Show during selected Saturday hours (see below for schedule). THIS is your chance to score Loteria Grande cards, posters, and A Song of Ice and Fire limited edition prints at special prices!

Heads up — there will only be a limited supply of ASoIaF prints available at the con, and popular ones will sell quickly. So if there’s a particular ASoIaF print that you covet (choose from these), drop a comment here and tell me which one before 5pm CST, Thursday, July 23rd, so that yours will be reserved. You can then pay and pick up at the con. Easy. And that means you don’t have to knife someone in the side and whisper “For The Watch” when said individual stands between you and that coveted ASoIaF print that should be yours. 🙂 (Online price for these limited edition prints is $125 each, but at Armadillocon only, the sale price is $100 each, while supplies last.) Get ’em before they’re gone, people.

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ART SHOW BONUS! For the first time ever, everyone who bids on one of my Art Show display works will receive a free signed Loteria poster of their choice! So even if someone outbids you in the Art Show, you still walk away a winner with a limited-run Loteria poster! After you place a valid Art Show bid on one of my works, just come see me during my Art Sale table hours to claim yours.

FRIDAY

GAME OF THRONES: COMPARING THE BOOK TO THE TV SHOW
Exploring the faithfulness of the adaptation and the high points of the books vs. the show.
6pm-7pm • Ballroom E • Bakutis, Benjamin, Clarke, Finn, Picacio, Swendson

MEET THE PROS PARTY
7:30pm-9:30pm • Lobby

SATURDAY

JOHN PICACIO ARMADILLOCON ART SALE (#1 of 2)
For a limited time — get your Loteria Grande cards and posters + score signed limited edition George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire archival prints. There will also be a quality selection of sf/f first editions featuring Picacio cover art. First come, first serve!
10am to 12noon • Table in the Art Show (look for the giant ‘La Sirena’ banner)

ROCKY KELLEY / ARTIST GUEST INTERVIEW
How did our Artist GoH break into the field and make a career, and what has he seen along the way?
12noon to 1pm • Ballroom F • Kelley, Picacio, Zrubek

LOTERIA!
Want to score cool prizes including DVDs, books, and signed Loteria posters? Come play the classic game of chance (AKA ‘Mexican Bingo’), for multiple chances to win. It’s fun and easy to play! Hosted by Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio.
1pm to 2pm • Conference Center

JOHN PICACIO ARMADILLOCON ART SALE (#2 of 2)
If you miss your chance in the morning to score Picacio art merchandise, this is your reprieve. C’mon over and get yours. (Also: There’s a rumor that single malt scotch may be discreetly available at this table, during these hours, for sharing with discerning adult customers and friends. It’s merely a rumor though. ;))
3pm to 6pm • Table in the Art Show (look for the giant ‘La Sirena’ banner)

ATTRACTING AND GROWING AN AUDIENCE FOR YOUR WORK
What can you do as an artist or writer to get people to notice your work, and how do you keep them as fans?
6pm to 7pm • Southpark A • Eudaly, Hoover, Melton, Picacio, Rose

See you soon, Austin.

MisCon: The Con That Can

MISCONBANNER1Wow, Missoula. I expected good things when George R. R. Martin said you were a great little con, but now that MisCon 29 is over, I can definitely say that you delivered. Back home in SA and catching up on a ton of work, so I’m just now getting to post about you.

Justin Barba and Cthulhu Bob Lovely pursued me for three years to be a MisCon Artist Guest of Honor, and 2015 was the year stars aligned. Terry Brooks and editor extraordinaire Anne Groell were my fellow GoHs, with authors and artists such as Todd Lockwood, Steven Erikson, Mark Teppo, Patrick Swenson, Shawn Speakman, David Keck, J.A. Pitts, Jeff Sturgeon, Peter Orullian, and more amongst an impressive guest lineup.

Missoula, you packed the Thunderdome for Loteria. You had one of my favorite scotch tastings of recent years, thanks to Tim Martin. You ran a small but finely tuned art show, thanks to the expertise of Bill ‘Jester’ Singletary (hooray for art show directors that pay their artists before they exit the show)!! You had filet mignon and prime rib in the Green Room. You served some of the best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever consumed (shoutout to Josh). You were one of the most hospitable cons I’ve ever witnessed, with the help of Tim Giesler, Vicki Voegelin and all of the staff at Ruby’s Inn.

Going out to eat with friends at a con is commonplace. Having the con provide a tableclothed banquet table stacked high with BBQ, sides, and dessert — in the crisp outdoors, along a magical creek, with privacy for GoHs and friends to visit each other after a long day of programming — that’s amazing. That’s MisCon at Ruby’s Inn.

Thanks to Amy, Justin F., Keith, Henry, Amber, Clay, Jon, Rob and Jean Carlos, Mariah, Stewart, the great John Barba, and all who I’m forgetting that made this con a terrific weekend.

Fistbump to Todd Lockwood, friend and legendary artist, for making the time to be there.

Again — muchas gracias, Justin and Bob, for bringing me out for my first appearance in Montana. Here’s hoping we can do it again someday, down the road!