This last weekend (May 22-24) was Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4 in Kansas City, MO. If you are unfamiliar with the event it is where the best fantasy and sci-fi artists in the business today gather and showcase there art. The event is geared toward artists but all our welcome. I mean seriously who out there isn’t remotely interested in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings these days. Not too mention this year George R R Martin was seen amongst the artists. The price for daily admission is also extremely reasonable. Besides all the amazing artwork for sale there is also live demos and panels with artists talking about their craft. Sound fun? Yeah it is!
Having attended SFAL (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live) all of the previous years I decided this year to have a table in artist alley. I’m not your everyday run of the mill professional fantasy artist most of the artwork that I do is portrait work or illustrations for children’s books. For fun I like to draw dragons, monsters and all kinds of fantasy/sci-fi subject matter. Being as it may with my crazy work schedule lately somehow ended up feeling unprepared for the weekend ahead of me. In the final two weeks before the show did six new colored pencil illustrations. See one of the illustrations below. With my previous artwork and some prints ended up having enough to fill my table to make a respectable showing.
Creature Rider – colored pencil
This year the artist alley was in a separate room from the main artists. Couldn’t tell if SFAL was busier then previous years because the foot traffic in the artist alley was definitely less than in the main room. That being said felt that most of the artists and the quality of there work in the alley could have displayed in either room. My table was near one of the entrances and was surrounded by good company. Across from me was Jacob Walker who does imaginative fantasy with the best of them, Allison Langston who does amazing work and owned her space with her setup. To the right was Jeff Porter who does digital work and his characters truly live in their environments. On the left was four guys from Lawrence and the Kansas City area Robert Nelson, Matthew Cook, Kent Smith, and Matthew Lord. These guys had to be the most innovative and creative artists that I had ever met in my life. The artist alley was actually a good size room and I could go on and on about the caliber of artists in there alone.
The main room was a large space filled with countless amazing artists. To name a few Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, Frank Cho, Paul Bonner, Iain McCaig, Karla Ortiz and the list goes on and on. It was amazing to talk to and discover new artists that I’ve never heard of or met as well. Even met a few facebook friends who have never met in person. Took me a good 3-4 hours to get through the main room that time includes chatting.
When wandering about bought Mark Shultz’s new book Storms at Sea and a few prints from Cory Godbey. Only ended up going to one of the panels and it was about Building an IP with Jon Schindehette, Iain McCaig, and Daren Bader. The panel was very informative and was exactly what I was needing to here.
All in all the weekend ended up being amazing. Sold some artwork and prints but the main thing that was taken from the weekend was all the amazing conversations about art and the feeling of community. I don’t know what it is like in other artistic communities but in the fantasy art community they like to share. The artists love to talk about there work, tell how they are doing it, talk about other artists and there work, and look at other peoples artwork.
Looking forward to next year and will definitely be more prepared and focused on my goals. Also as side note to myself if Brom walks by your table next year instead of saying “I like your stuff” maybe something more along the lines of “Thank you, your work is an inspiration to me” would be more appropriate. Also would like to thank Arnie Fenner for coming around the first day and talking to me at my table. Very classy!
Everyone that is an artist, enjoys art or fantasy should attend this event next year.
Chad Thomas – www.whiterabbitart.com
Artist mentioned links: