[Editor’s note: Jeanne wrote this in comments and I wanted to give everyone a chance to see it.]
By Jeanne Gomoll: I am extremely honored to have received the Rotsler award and am grateful for this recognition for my work. Thank you so much!
A long time ago, in 1975, I was just learning what the words “fandom,” “illo,” and “egoboo” meant. “Send the fanzine editor an illo…” Hank Luttrell counseled neofan me, “…and they’ll send you a copy of their zine.” It was all a new world to me, and one that I was eager to explore. Around that time, I remember a fan telling me about a fabulous artist, Frank Frazetta, who was famed for his comic book and paperback book covers. I remember this fan sadly remarking that because Frazetta’s professional career was turning out so well, he had stopped doing fannish work. Now, (Google research tells me:) I suppose this was a reference to Frazetta’s fanzine, Outlooks, but at the time, I was simply struck with the mind-bending idea that a fanzine artist might move from amateur to professional work, and feel allegiance to both fannish and professional worlds. Later I would become acquainted with Bill Rotsler’s art. I was one of the lucky fan editors who received envelopes stuffed with Bill’s illos. Here was another artist who maintained a foot in fandom and a professional career.
This moment embedded itself in my memory, in the same way that a second, earlier experience did, and for the same reason: both moments ended up resonating with the course my life took.
The second experience happened long before I encountered fandom. I was probably only about 7 years old and sitting on the front porch watching people walk past on the sidewalk. A woman appeared, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, and I was so captivated by her purposeful, confident stride, that I ran to the sidewalk and watched her until she disappeared. I wanted to be that woman. Years later, I was walking up State Street carrying some posterboard in an artist’s portfolio, and I suddenly thought I had glimpsed that very same woman, from 25 years earlier, walking down State Street. But it was me; I had seen my own reflection in a store window. I had become the woman I had dreamed of becoming.
With this award, I realize that I have traveled another full circle. I’ve experienced and enjoyed a dual identity — as fannish AND professional artist. The possibility that so intrigued me in 1975 became a framework for my life. I have so much for which to thank fandom: the skills and experiences I gained as a fannish artist translated into a career, without dousing my enthusiasm for fannish projects.
To be honored for these life-definining experiences is a wonderful thing. Thank you.
[Below: A photo of the exhibit at Loscon courtesy of Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink.]