Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Moves to San Francisco

SFAL 2016 logo COMPSpectrum Fantastic Art Live, the artist-focused convention that has been held for the last four years in Kansas City, will be moving to San Francisco in 2016 Spectrum Director John Fleskes announced yesterday. In partnership with the Academy of Art University, the convention will continue growing the public’s awareness of fantasy-themed art while bringing creators from around the world to exhibit and sell their works to collectors and fans in a welcoming atmosphere. The event will be held at the academy’s Jerrold building facility on October 28-30, 2016.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL) is an extension of the Spectrum annual, the award-winning book devoted to the year’s best fantastic art.

Beyond the art exhibition, workshops, panels and demonstrations, the long-term plan is for SFAL to expand to serve also as a trade show and job fair. “Whether it’s for film and television, publishing, comics, gaming, advertising or the theater, Spectrum has always been the home for the best and brightest creators of every type of fantastic art,” notes Cathy Fenner. “The show, like the Spectrum annual, makes it easier for art directors to connect directly with both new and established talent. Similarly, gallery owners and patrons are able to meet and form relationships with artists they might not otherwise know about. ‘More eyes equals more opportunities’ has always been our mantra, and the move to California will help that continue.”

John Fleskes, publisher of Flesk Publications and director of Spectrum, assumed the responsibilities of director and editor in 2013 following the retirement of founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner. He has been meeting with Academy of Art University representatives since 2014 in preparation for the move.

Founded in 1929 in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University is one of the country’s most innovative and creative institutions for higher learning. With nearly 18,000 students, it is the largest privately owned art and design school in the United States.

Cathy and Arnie Fenner have provided additional background in a public Facebook post.

The announcement has been made and we know that there are some that are disappointed that SFAL is moving to San Francisco in 2016 and others who are concerned about the switch to October for the show’s dates.

We don’t talk too much about all the behind-the-scenes stuff in organizing SFAL, but there were a lot of challenges and this year’s show was particularly difficult. It’s really a matter of available dates and venues and it has become increasingly hard in KC to get exhibit space at the same time a theater is available and there are enough hotel rooms for exhibitors and attendees. This year we were forced to change our exhibit space and our dates, which put us opposite the city’s long-running ConQuesT in the same hotel; they were gracious and we worked well together, but we felt like we were intruding on their territory, so to speak. Spring has always been surprisingly crowded for events downtown—we’ve never been able to rent the Music Hall, for example, for the awards ceremony because it’s booked solid with recitals and graduations in May—and with the pending construction of the Hyatt and the completion of the street cars, more and more conventions have been squeezing our dates. The addition of the KCComicon to the city in August along with the annual anime and horror cons—not to mention the World SF Convention in 2016—have made for a crowded genre landscape.

When we learned just before SFAL4 that the organizer of the local Planet Comicon had decided on the sly to move his 2016 show dates from March and secured our traditional dates for the convention center in May, the decision was sort of made for us. Competing for essentially much of the same audience in the same narrow time frame doesn’t make any sense: moving to March in THEIR original spot wasn’t an option for us because of a lack of hotel rooms (the Big 12 Basketball Tournement happens at that time; it didn’t affect the comicon because they draw very few overnight attendees whereas SFAL accounts for over 1000 hotel room nights). Moving to Fall in KC would have brought higher rental prices for a theater and fewer date options (the convention center is a busy place). Because of Planet Comicon’s tactic, the negative financial impact on the city, downtown hotels, restaurants, and businesses will be significant, but…that’s the way things are.

In light of the challenges we faced while organizing the 2015 show, John Fleskes had been exploring the possibility of moving SFAL to California and partnering with the Academy of Art University. Possible dates were explored throughout the lengthy discussions and though we realize that the October slot will conflict with other conventions, big and small, we also ultimately realize that there are conflicts with something somewhere virtually every week of the year. Spring wasn’t an option and October was the only time that worked with the University’s extremely busy schedule—so October it is.

We want to express our deepest gratitude to our KC committee who selflessly pulled together to make the first four SFALs possible: Carl V. Anderson, Amanda Banion, Arlo Burnett, James Fallone, Bunny Muchmore, Lazarus Potter, Jeff Smith, and Shena Wolf are eight big reasons why SFAL was such a positive experience for so many. We’d also like to thank our friends at Liberty Exhibition Services, the staffs at the Midland, Folly, and Alamo Theaters, our liaisons at the Marriott and The Aladdin Holiday Inn Hotel, and particularly John English and his instructors for their tireless support of the show and the hours spent instructing and encouraging young artists during the event. And, of course, we’d like to thank each of you who either exhibited at or attended the Kansas City shows.


Spectrum_Fantastic_Art_Live_Academy_of_Art_University COMP

Spectrum 21 Awards Finalists

The Spectrum 21 jury left to right: J. Anthony Kosar, Allen Williams, Cory Godbey, George Pratt and Shelly Wan

The Spectrum 21 jury left to right: J. Anthony Kosar, Allen Williams, Cory Godbey, George Pratt and Shelly Wan

Judging for the 2014 edition of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual was completed March 1 on the campus of San Jose State University. Finalists were chosen by jury members Cory Godbey, J. Anthony Kosar, George Pratt, Shelly Wan, and Allen Williams who looked at and evaluated over five thousand entries in eight categories in a single day of voting. Their selections of the year’s best fantastic art will appear in Spectrum 21, scheduled for October release.

Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art was founded in 1993 by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner. Creators from around the globe participate in the competition each year. With Spectrum 21 John Fleskes assumes the positions of director of the competition and editor of the annual. Flesk Publications is the new publisher of the book: Publishers Group West will continue as its distributor. The nominated images can be seen here on John Flesk’s blog.

Gold and silver medal winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony during Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, a weekend long celebration of fantastic art, in Kansas City, May 9-11. The Spectrum Grand Master Award will also be presented during the ceremony.

The gold and silver finalists are:


  • Anita Kunz — Little Monsters
  • Victo Ngai — A Tiger Beer Chinese New Year
  • Shu Yan — Go Into the Gate
  • Kent Williams — The Criterion Collection Lord of the Flies
  • Gabriel Verdon — Hiversaires


  • Scott Gustafson — Little Sambha and the Tiger with the Beautiful Purple Shoes with Crimson Soles
  • John Harris — Fire: the Road Beside the Wall
  • Petar Meseldzija — The Golden Apple Tree 1
  • Nicolas Delort — The End of the Road
  • Kirsti Wakelin — Dreamboats, Lilies, Koi and Chang Kuo-lao


  • He Jie Mona — All Corners of the Country: The Lost Buildings #4
  • David Palumbo — Aliens #1 cover
  • Thomas Campi — The Red Door
  • Mark A. Nelson — Seasons, page 1
  • Goni Montes — Clive Barker’s Next Testament #6

Concept Art

  • Theo Prins — Kite City 2
  • Theo Prins — Refugees
  • Brian Matyas — Messenger Girl
  • Vance Kovacs — John Carter Punches a Thark
  • Jamie Jones — Ackzero Interior


  • Colin and Kristine Poole — Hot Diggety Dog
  • Shaun Tan — Grimm Tales: Thousandfurs
  • The Shiflett Bros. — Vertical Man-Tank, 1892
  • Jessica Dalvo — Don’t Mind Me
  • Forest Rogers — Goblin Spider


  • Nicolas Delort — Rumor of Angels
  • Yuko Shimizu — Hair Tree
  • Luo Xin — Recall
  • Tran Nguyen — The Insects of Love
  • Bill Mayer — Fragile Planet


  • Bill Carman — Shared Eyewear
  • Rebecca Yanovskaya — Ascent of Man
  • Ed Binkley — The Hag Griselle Pays a Visit
  • Justin Sweet — Blacksea
  • Donato Giancola — Huor and Hurin Approach Gondolin


  • Jean-Baptiste Monge — Ode to the Moon
  • Yukari Masuike — Riding Horse on the Freezing Day
  • Annie Stegg — Lilaia the Naiad
  • Omar Rayyan — The Long Walk Home
  • Audrey Benjaminsen — Lady of Light

Gregory Manchess Exhibit Opens

Gregory Manchess

Gregory Manchess

[From the press release.] "Gregory Manchess: A Life In Paint," the first major exhibition of paintings by the award-winning artist, opens at the Museum of American Illustration in the Society of Illustrators headquarters in New York City on September 3. Renowned as both an illustrator and as an educator, Manchess' classic brushwork has appeared on hundreds of book covers and in National Geographic, Omni Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine, as well as on stamps for the U.S. Postal Service including the most recent commemoration of the Freedom March on Washington.
The show includes over 50 original works which showcase the artist's love of the oil medium. Including portraiture, the figure in repose and in motion, and imaginative narratives, this retrospective show features selected personal paintings, covers for bestselling novels, pieces for major advertising campaigns, and illustrations for children¹s books. Several of his oils for Tor Books, Hardcase Crime, and for The Conquering Sword of Conan by Robert E. Howard appear in the exhibition.
A lecture and artist reception will take place Friday, September 27 at 6 p.m. The show is sponsored by Cathy and Arnie Fenner of Spectrum Fantastic Art LLC and is scheduled to run until October 26. Directions, museum hours, and other information can be found at the Society of Illustrators website.

Spectrum 20 Award Finalists

Spectrum 20 Jury & Directors: Tim Bruckner, Mark A. Nelson,
Irene Gallo, Michael Whelan, Cathy Fenner, Tim Kirk, and Arnie Fenner.

The Spectrum 20 Award jury members Tim Bruckner, Irene Gallo, Tim Kirk, Mark A. Nelson, and Michael R. Whelan evaluated over 6,000 entries before selecting 40 finalists for this year’s edition of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual.

Founded in 1993 by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner, Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art is among the most respected art showcases, covering a wide range of disciplines. It is the only “art annual” with categories devoted to comics, concept art, and sculpture.

Judging was completed March 2. Their selection of the year’s best fantastic art will appear in Spectrum 20, scheduled for October release in both hardcover and softcover from Underwood Books. Gold and silver medal winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony during Spectrum Live, a weekend long celebration of fantastic art, in Kansas City, May 17-19. The Spectrum Grand Master Award will also be presented during the ceremony, which will be held in the historic Midland Theater.

The gold and silver finalists are:


  • Craig Elliott:ForestAwakening
  • Michael C. Hayes: Procession
  • Android Jones: Ganeshatron
  • Greg Ruth: Three Outlaw Samurai
  • Dan DosSantos: Dragon Empress


  • Brom: Wipi
  • William O’Connor: Wargriffin
  • David Palumbo: Fed
  • Shaun Tan: Never Leave a Red Sock on the Clothesline
  • Charles Vess: Tanglewood: I Didn’t Know She Was a Bottle Witch


  • Jennifer L. Meyer: Aesop’s Ark,Ch. 2, P2
  • David Petersen: Mouse Guard Black Axe #4, Page 19
  • Paolo Rivera: Daredevil #10
  • Paolo Rivera: Captain America #1
  • João Ruas: Fables #121

Concept Art

  • Daniel Dociu: Guild Wars 2, Norn Lodge
  • Theo Prins: Southsun Cove
  • Paul Sullivan: Franken-animal
  • Justin Sweet: Marauders 2
  • Allen Willams: Tree of Tales


  • Dan Chudzinski: Turbulence
  • David Meng: Sashimi
  • Virginie Ropars: Mothra
  • Virginie Ropars: Acanthopis III
  • Katya Tal: Blanket Fairy


  • Sam Bosma: Stability
  • Chris Buzelli: Book Monster
  • Sean Andrew Murray: He’s Gone Full-Bird
  • Victo Ngai: Best of the Best
  • Sam Weber: Cancer Monster


  • Ed Binkley: A Cob of Chiseldon-Brimble
  • Lucas Graciano: Dragon Swarm
  • Tyler Jacobson: Ruric Thar, The Unbowed
  • Kekai Kotaki: Stampede
  • David Palumbo: Taken


  • Cory Godbey: The Fish Master
  • Lucas Graciano: Guardianship
  • Kekai Kotaki: Ride
  • Andrew Mar: Tell-Tale Heart
  • Tohru Patrick Awa: Sudden Shower

Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards

Quixotic Fusion at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!

The Spectrum 19 Awards in eight categories were announced May 19 in Kansas City during Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!, a convention focused on fantasy and science fiction art and associated with SPECTRUM books.

The winners in each category are:

Gold – Tyler Jacobson: Talon of Umberlee
Silver – Android Jones: Boom Festival

Gold – Edward Kinsella: Wooden Bones
Silver – Jean-Babtiste Monge: Ragnarok

Gold – Alex Alice: Sigfried III
Silver – Jim Murray: DOTA 2: Tales from the Secret Shop

Concept Art:
Gold – Justin Sweet: Jack the Giant Killer
Silver – Daniel Dociu: Hangar

Gold – Virginie Ropars: Jack
Silver – Thomas S. Kuebler: I am Providence

Gold – Jean-Baptiste Monge: Mic Mac Cormac
Silver – James Gurney: Kosmocertatops

Gold – Raoul Vitale: Turin and the Glaurung
Silver – Android Jones: Water Dragon 2012

Gold – Michael Whelan: CK Unmasked
Silver – Justin Gerard: Portrait of a Monster #3

Grand Master:
James Gurney

Presenters included Spectrum founders Arnie and Cathy Fenner, Tor Books Art Director Irene Gallo, and artists Gregory Manchess, Greg Spalenka, Iain McCaig, Jarrod and Brandon Schiflett, Donato Giancola, and Michael Whelan.

Finalists in each category were projected onto a 30′ wide screen; the screen was also used to remember those in the artistic community who had passed away in the previous year and to review the recipients of the Grand Master Award.

Framing the festivities were performances by the nationally renowned Quixtotic Fusion dance company and by Phadroid aka digital creator Android and dancer Phaedra Jones. The awards show was produced by Lazarus Potter of the Lazarus Design Group in association with Quixotic Fusion and the Midland Theater. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! was organized by Jim Fallone, Shena Wolf, Bunny Muchmore, Arlo Burnett, Lazarus Potter, and the Fenners.

All of the award winning work will be included in Spectrum 19: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art, which will be published by Underwood Books in November.

More coverage and photos at Rockville Music Magazine.

Update: 05/23/2012: Irene Gallo has granted permission for the use of her photos here. I apologize for not providing credit earlier. That happened because the photos attached to the press release were not attributed.

Arnie and Cathy Fenner

Michael Whelan

Greg Spalenka

Greg Manchess

Android Jones

Irene Gallo

James Gurney

Mike Mignola

Justin Sweet


Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Coming to KC

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!, happening next year, will be the Midwest’s first convention focusing solely on all forms of fantastic art, paintings and sculpture.

A living extension of Arnie and Cathy Fenner’s annual art anthology, Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, the event will take place on May 18-20, 2012 in the Grand Ballroom of Bartle Hall, located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Special guests include fantasy art and comic luminaries Brom, Phil Hale, Andrew “Android” Jones, Iain McCaig, and Mike Mignola. Other confirmed exhibitors include, Michael Whelan, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell.

The full press release follows the jump.

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