Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back From Boskone 44

Just returned from my first Boskone since 1990. During the intervening years I kept telling myself that I was going to show some new work but one thing led to another and I just let the date go by and said I'd do it next year. Well, this year I finally got my stuff together and went. The cons are a great time for artists and writers and for fans too. I'm rather partial to the artist side but truth to tell, having some time to interact with writers and other creatives make these events that much more amazing. I spent most of the time hanging with my friend and editor Lou Anders from Pyr. An amazing man who can converse on seemingly unlimited subjects and do it with authority. As I mentioned, being an artist, I had the chance to chat with two of my favorites. The first, Dave Seeley, I knew the work of fairly well, and Rick Berry, who I only knew from seeing his work in Spectrum books in my collection. Dave invited Lou and I to visit his mom's home and see some of his work that he stored there. Mrs. Seeley was quite charming and gave us the grand tour. Dave's work is all the more amazing when you see it in person. I suppose we all say that though. His work is full of very expressive characters, totally realized creatures, environments and occasionally a sense of danger. There is that electric feeling of a split-second pause before the hammer drops. When time just seems to stop, only for a moment. Amazing. Dave and I actually share a love of creating props for our paintings. He showed us a pair of hand-gun type weapons that he was constructing for an upcoming piece. I thought that was as cool as seeing the art itself.
Later that day we were invited to Rick Berry's studio. Rick and his charming, cool wife Sheila hosted an impromptu gathering for a few of us after the con broke up.
As my primary illustration technique is digital and hand-rendered colored pencil, it's been a number of years since I've been in a workspace filled with the smell of oil paint. Oh, it was like smelling a fresh-mowed lawn after a long winter. It made me reconsider my thoughts about abandoning my oil painting technique. There is a spontaneity to Rick's work that is truly striking. Grabs hold of you and won't let go.
I would give the advice to any artist working or trying to work in this field to visit as many cons with art shows as you can. They are an invaluable resource to talk to other talented people and share ideas and ask questions.
I also got to chat with Irene Gallo from Tor books, whom I've met a few times but never really got to talk with at any length. She had some wonderful stories of the artists and writers she has worked with. You would think that someone who is under the gun constantly to get projects done and out the door, might have showed some stress. Not so. Irene is a person who genuinely loves what she does. She has a calmness and joy that just comes through.
All in all a very enjoyable and productive experience. I'm looking forward to hopefully attending the World Fantasy convention in November in New York and showing some new work. Thanks to all those whom I neglected to mention who shared their time and experience with me. It was greatly appreciated.


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