Spectrum 23 Award Nominations

The Spectrum 23: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art Award finalists have been announced.

Five finalists for a Silver or a Gold award in each of the eight categories were selected by a jury of David Palumbo, Cynthia Sheppard, Kirk Thatcher, Charlie Wen and Terryl Whitlatch.

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. In 2014, John Fleskes became director of the competition and editor of the annual, and Flesk Publications the publisher of the book.

The winners will be announced during the Spectrum 23 Awards Ceremony that will be held at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on Saturday, May 7. The 2016 Spectrum Grand Master Award honoree will also be announced during the ceremony.


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

Vance-Kovacs-King-Luies-court-CA-Spectrum23-nominationVance 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

Artwork © 2016 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

22 thoughts on “Spectrum 23 Award Nominations

  1. Dragan Bibin, it turns out, did illustrations for a five-volume series on Serbian mythology. Some articles about it here and here. Holy cow. How can one get hold of these books?!

  2. There’s some dazzling work there. Wow.

    I’m glad I don’t have to choose winners from a roster like that.

  3. A friend just mentioned that you have to pay to submit a work to this contest. That seems a bit unusual (although it certainly doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on the quality of the art).

  4. Holy crap. This is not doing wonders for my Hugo shortlisting.

    I am immensely glad that Tran Nguyen’s Uncanny cover made it, it’s incredibly striking.

  5. ETA: Why it matters (that they charge). The friend who mentioned this to me is Rachel Holmen, former art director for the now-defunct Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine. I just had a brief IM chat with her about it, and she said that at the time, she always wondered why none of their stuff was ever nominated. The answer, she discovered later, is that no one knew to submit it with the appropriate fees.

    So, if you are or know some good artists or art directors or whatever, who may also be wondering why their stuff isn’t being considered for this award, become aware, or pass along the word, or something. 🙂

  6. @Xtifr – It’s not unusual in the art world and isn’t considered a weird predatory practice the way reading fees are in writing. I suspect it’s because the gallery/juried show model is so different.

  7. Seconding RedWombat; my husband is a photographer whose work has been displayed in galleries; for an open-call gallery show it’s pretty common to have an entry fee.

  8. To help clarify the point mentioned in Xtifr’s posts, there is indeed an entry fee to participate in Spectrum; it might seem odd to some, but the model is similar to the distinguished competitions sponsored by Illustrators, Graphis, American Illustration, and many others. The primary purpose is to offset the expenses of organizing the competition and of bringing the jury together to deliberate and make selections (Spectrum is the only art competition for the F&SF field in which the judges are all in one place simultaneously casting votes). Everything comes with a cost. The fees are also used to pay for the awards—currently bronze statues individually sculpted by Kristine and Colin Poole—and to increase the appreciation for the artists, their works, and the community as a whole via various promotions, scholarships, gatherings, and exhibitions, including 3 shows at the Museum of American Illustration in New York (a fourth is being planned for 2018).

    The fees (which have been the same for 23 years and are lower than those required by other competitions, some of whom add on “hanging fees” or “publication fees” after art is accepted—Spectrum does not) also cause entrants to consider more carefully what they’re entering. Spectrum is supposed to epitomize “the best” art for the field and the fees encourage entrants to self-evaluate and curate their work before taking part instead of throwing everything against the wall and seeing if anything sticks. One competition that is “free” to enter receives so many poor-quality artworks that it significantly screens entries and only presents what the organizers consider worthy to their jury: not so with Spectrum. Every work entered to Spectrum is seen and voted on by its judges. So there’s a reason things are done the way their done. As a result, the book is one of the most diverse, most inclusive, highest profile, and unpretentious art collections (F&SF or otherwise) available today—everybody benefits as a result. 🙂

  9. Re: Greg Opalinski’s “Initiate”–good to see that Wilson from Cast Away has found more work.

  10. Wow, a lot of these are great! I really love Empathy and Bioluminescence in particular; there’s something about those two that just speaks to me.

  11. One reason for going to either Spectrum or Illuxcon — seeing the originals of many of these, as well as others that are on a par with them.

  12. @RedWombat (and others commenting about the fees): Fair enough, that all makes sense. But if you’re expecting it to work like other genre awards (e.g. Hugo, Nebula, or even the Chesley), you may be surprised to find that your work never gets nominated….

    Anyway, I can’t argue with the results. 🙂

  13. Two of these illustrations are so compelling I went and read the stories. Good stuff.

  14. Pingback: Here's Some of the Most Jaw-Dropping Science Fiction and Fantasy Artwork of the Past Year – Gizmodo

  15. @Xtifr @RedWombat:

    Those fees are perfectly normal in the art world.

    In many parts of the art world those fees are considered predatory, particularly when they are for not-very-prestigious galleries and shows.

    This, however, is a high prestige show.

  16. Wow, there are some awesome pieces here, a few of which I’ve even seen (covers). A handful are not to my taste, or don’t seem as inventive as others, but overall it’s a very impressive line-up, as I’ve come to expect from Spectrum.

    @Arnie: Thanks for the background and information about Spectrum and the feeds.

  17. Pingback: Here's Some Of The Most Jaw-Dropping Science Fiction And Fantasy Artwork Of The Past Year | Gizmodo Australia

  18. I’m stunned by the level and variety of artwork. Choosing a winner seems an impossible task. I got a great chuckle out of the “16th Annual Movie Marathon.” Thanks for posting the nominees.

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