Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: art show at sf convention

Glimpses of Archon 42

Halloween? No, just an active costuming contingent!

I enjoyed my return to Archon, a St. Louis-area convention I’d often attended when it was scheduled in the summer (I know: back in ancient days!). In more recent decades, this convention has become a major event for restaurants and hotels near the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. The one I’m writing about here was held October 12-14, 2018.

I enjoyed the costumes–but what I managed to catch in photos are a far cry from their full extent. For a better glimpse of what tends to wander the halls of Archon, there’s a great photo lineup from #41, by Thomas Crone in St. Louis Magazine onlineand the Masquerade has a Facebook page you also may enjoy. Here’s another rather comprehensive look at the convention you also may enjoy.

One thing about Archon at the Gateway Center: you walk a lot. Even the main convention hotel, the Doubletree, isn’t attached to the Gateway Centerso you’re walking wherever you stay (we stayed at the just-as-nearby Fairfield Inn, which was sung and well-kept). The other thing about the Doubletree is that it books up each year in a flash. It wasn’t the best of weather for trekking though the landscape, this year. I was glad I’d brought my trench coat.

Of course, I always want to display my artwork at conventions I attend. Here’s my Archon 42 Art Show display.

I also love to be on, and also attend, panels. I have photos from several enjoyable ones, below. This year, I also have put a particular emphasis on my readings, as a way to both learn what other authors are writing, and to give people an advance glimpse of my to-be-released-this-winter science fiction novel What’s Bred in the Bone.

The programming staff mostly put me on Art Track panels, rather than the writing ones I’ve become used to lately, so I had a chance to do things such as dust off my art teacher skills for Basic Drawing and geek out with Rachael Mayo about art supplies, quality, and when/how you can afford to go with a cheaper option.

Rachael Mayo (seated at left) brought samples of different kinds of both paper and colored pencils (some cheap, some top-grade professional, some in between), for the audience to test at the end of the Saturday panel titled Crayola is Fine, Right?: Art on a Budget.”
One of the first programming items I attended on Friday of the convention was one of their three-person Author Readings, this one featuring, L-R: Donna J.W. MunroMarella Sands, and Christine Nobbe, who read a science fiction story she often shares with her gifted classes.
The “Diversity in Speculative Fiction” panel on Friday night of the con explored long-overdue changes developing as sf becomes more inclusive. L-R Participants: Jennifer Stolzer, Kathleen KayembeCamille Faye, and Debbie Manber Kupfer, who moderated.
The Sunday afternoon “Alternate Paths to Publishing” panel had such an engaged audience that we overshot our scheduled stop-time, and missed Closing Ceremonies. L-R, George Sirois (“SEAR-oy”) moderated; Brad R. Cook, Camille Faye, and Debbie Manber Kupfer added a variety of thoughts and reflections on their experiences.

Archon 43 will be held in Collinsville again next year, Oct. 4-6, 2019. But don’t expect to book a room in the Doubletree. It’s already full up.

IMAGES: All of the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, at Archon 42, between October 12-14, 2018. You may freely re-post or reblog them, but in all fairness please include an attribution to me, and a link back to this post. The cover art for What’s Bred in the Bone is a color comp by Jody A. Lee; she promises the finished art is coming soon.

Fondly remembering FenCon XV

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since Ty and I left for FenCon XV at the Westin DFW in Irving, TX. It was our first FenCon, but we certainly don’t want it to be our last! Those Texans really know how to put on a great science fiction convention!

The Royal Manticoran Navy made a strong showing at FenCon XV, both with its information booth and at parties and other events. I deeply regret that I had a brain glitch and didn’t remember to get the names of these folks!
Writers in the Field has an interesting concept: they provide opportunities for writers to learn what it really feels like to . . . experience a whole bunch of things they’re likely to need to know if they write sf, fantasy, westerns, historicals, or other stories. How does it feel to saddle up and ride across country? Wear armor? Shoot with a bow and arrow? and much more. Instructor Jana Stout and co-founder William “Bud” Humble were holding down the table when I took this photo.
Like any well-run convention, FenCon XV had an Art Show Reception with excellent goodies to nibble, on Friday night.
Here’s how my Art Show display looked before the show opened on Friday. I sold several pieces, including the one-of-a-kind original mixed media paper sculpture Aka-Bekko Dragon.
created a postcard to publicize my Friday reading of material from What’s Bred in the Bone, my sf novel due to be published this winter. I was gratified to have a nice group of people show up for the reading. Better yet, all weekend people responded favorably to my cover by the accomplished illustrator Jody A. Lee, even though it’s still in the color comp stage. I should have finished artwork soon!
FenConXV parties rocked! I haven’t enjoyed circulating at fan parties this much in ages. People were actually friendly to strangers (hard to over-emphasize how important that is!!). I could mostly hear what people were saying to me, and the conversations were substantive and interesting.

Clockwise from upper left: Ken Ruffin of the local National Space Society chapter and me; Ed and Brandy portray Frankenstein and his Bride-to-be; the Space Party (sponsored Saturday night by the National Space Society); and new friend Marah, rocking a T-shirt she scored on a trip with friends to Arkansas. Gotta add a special shout-out to the Blue Coconut Bar Party, too. They were very welcoming (and knowledgeable mixologists), both nights.

Unfortunately, it was really rainy Friday night around DFW Airport. They had flash floods all over the place, and a great many locals crashed with friends at the hotel because they couldn’t get home. Ty and I were on the 14th floor, literally “above it all,” but that doesn’t mean we didn’t think it sucked when friends such as Brad Foster had floods in their studios!
I attended quite a few readings at FenCon XV, but the three I enjoyed most were by (L-R) Ethan Nahté, whose upcoming Wings of Mercury is an homage to the 1950s, sf-style; Gloria Oliver, whose latest book is set in the Victorian Era and is a work of exquisite horror, firmly grounded in historical accuracy; and Martha Wells, who read the delicious first chapter of her new Murderbot novel-to-come. I was an instant convert.
It was good to be back on panels other than a reading (much though I love doing readings). Here I’m participating on the “The Sexes . . . in Space!” panel with Marianne Dyson at left (also William Ledbetter and John DeLaughternot shown) on Friday of the convention. (Photo by Tyrell Gephardt)
It was a smaller Dealers’ Room than I’d expected for a convention of nearly 1,000 people, but what do aI know?
At the “Space Habitats and Mega-Structures” panel we had an interesting and informative session. Panelists, L-R are: Ken RuffinLarry NivenWilliam LedbetterC. Stuart Hardwick, and Martin L. Shoemaker.

IMAGES: All photos were taken my me, Jan S. Gephardt, with one (noted) exception that was taken by Tyrell Gephardt. If you’d like to use one on a blog or other place, please include an attribution to the photographer and a link back to this page. Thanks!

Impressions from Denver

Preliminary reflections on Westercon 71/MALCon 6

I’m freshly back from Denver, and the 71st Westercon, hosted by Myths and Legends Con 6, a Shiny Garden event. The first panels and an opening reception began on Wednesday, July 4, 2018; the last events and Closing Ceremonies came on Sunday, July 8.

The reception on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 on the first night (July 4, 2018) gave us a panoramic view of several municipal fireworks displays in Denver and along the Front Range of the Rockies. They went on for at least an hour.

intend to devote at least one more post to the programming (possibly more), but I’m still waiting on a couple of things, so today I’d like to give some more general impressionsAs I noted last week, I managed to miss connecting with the Programming folks. As a result, this was a very unusual con for me in one way–no panels to prepare for or moderate! 

So I did what any truefan would do: I volunteered when possible, to help out. Science fiction fandom runs on volunteer power–and the best way to get to know people is to participate

Here’s a photo from the Art Show setup at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 in Denver. We had a pretty small space but Art Show Director Bruce Miller (far L, white hair with his back to us) and his MileHiCon Art Show Team who could make it–some were ill, sadly–have this setup thing down to a process. My son and traveling companion Tyrell Gephardt (3rd from right in the background) and I helped as we could. I can’t see well enough to identify the guy in the middle by the doorway, but the woman in the foreground right is Lizzie Newellfellow paper sculptor! (although her work and mine are different). At far right in the background you can see about half of Robert Pechmanna mainstay of Bruce’s Art Show Team.

Mostly, I volunteered in the Art Show. Having been the Art Show Director at ConQuesT for three years, before gratefully turning it over to the capable and talented Mikah McCullough, and having been involved in art shows since the early 1980s (including co-writing the original version of the ASFA Art Show Guidelines with Richard Pini, in intense consultation with Teresa Patterson, who is writing now but was running art shows then), art shows at sf cons are my “natural environment.” I like to think I helped, this weekend.

Here are two views from above: at left are fan tables and several general-interest booths; at right is a view from the catwalk above, of gamers enjoying tabletop games inside the atrium at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.

As noted above, at least one more blog post in this space will deal with the panels I attended at Westercon 71/MALCon 6, but in more general terms I’d like to quote from a journal entry I wrote on Saturday of the convention (July 7, 2018), about my experience:

“I feel as if I’ve been attending an intensive writers’ and artist’s immersion experience this week. My typical day has been a wake-up into immediately thinking about my book, working on the book, then working in the Art Show, surrounded with amazing art and interacting with some of the people who made it, going to panels that are (at their best) almost like graduate-level seminars on the topic of the panel—frequently thought-provoking, even when they don’t reach that pinnacle. Evenings have been spent reviewing the day’s events and input, discussing experiences with Ty, and more writing.”

To my surprise and delight, theArt Show Judges (independent from any influence by the Art Show Staff I’d become a temporary part of) awarded me with a First Prize in the 3D category. The picture they honored was the one-of-a-kind “Spiny Ridge” version of the multiple original Common Cliff Dragon–Male. As I explained to Bruce, I don’t intend to tie up my time with anything that intricate again! We’ll see how long that resolve holds out.

After the better part of a full week at the convention, I must say my mood was divided. Part of me wanted to linger longer (maybe get more work done), but we also needed to get home!

Heading out on Monday, July 9, 2018: My little green Subaru fit right in, with the Denver crowd. The Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center has a lot of glass in that atrium.

IMAGES: All photos in this post were taken by Jan S. Gephardt, including the one of Jan’s own artwork. Please feel free to re-post, reblog, share, or tweet any of these photos, but please include an attribution and a link back to this page. Many thanks!

Kansas City represents, at SoonerCon 27!

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest 

I hope you can endure one more post about SoonerCon 27, held June 22-24, 2018 in Midwest City, OK. This one’s about Kansas City artists at SoonerCon 27.

At left is my SoonerCon 27 Art Show display; at right is my friend Rachael Mayo, another Kansas City-based artist who specializes in dragons. One of hers, titled Shadowgorge 4, very deservedly won a Peer Choice Nucleon Award in the Professional Artist category. She came in second to John Picacio, which is not doing badly at all.

Rachael and I weren’t the only Kansas City artists in the SoonerCon Art Show, however. Fellow Kansas Citian Allison Stein filled several panels with her small, one-of-a kind mixed-media artworks featuring quirky animals with attitude.

Also present but not exhibiting work in the Art Show were Kansas City author/artists Sherri Dean and James Hollaman.

IMAGES: Both photos in this post were taken by me (Jan S. Gephardt); in the case of Rachael’s photo, with her permission and cooperation (I asked her to smile. This is what she gave me. Twice. “That is my happy face,” she said). If you wish to reblog or re-post these images, please attribute both me and Rachael, and include a link back to this post, if possible. Many thanks!

Over and con too soon!

I’m freshly back from SoonerCon 27, and what an excellent convention it was! They had some great guests, excellent programming and fun special events. One blog post (or even several) couldn’t do justice to it, but here’s a small taste of what I enjoyed most.

SoonerCon 27’s lineup of featured guests included: L-R: Lloyd Lee BarnettGlenn GarlandJerry BennettCarrie VaughnJohn PicacioStan LoveLarry Nemecek, and Selina RosenHere they are at Opening Ceremonies on Friday, June 22, 2018.

One last time at the Reed Center in Midwest City

As ever, the people-watching at SoonerCon 27 was delightful, whether one was on the upper-level concourse, at the Artists Alley on the lower level, or in the Dealers Room.

Some of the many talented people who showed up in costumes at SoonerCon 27.
Some of the action in the Artists Alley at SoonerCon 27.
One corner of the Dealers Room–pardon, the Exhibitors Hall–at SoonerCon 27.

This was SoonerCon’s final year at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City, OK. Next year they’ll shift to the first weekend in June (oh, goody! Back-to-back with ConQuesT!) and relocate to the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Norman, OK.

The Art Show and “World Peace Through Chocolate” Artists Reception

I hope they can give the SoonerCon Art Show, capably run this year by Marcia Bull and her excellent crew, more room at the Embassy Suites, because we were really crammed in there pretty good, despite having both Reed Center Ballrooms A and B.

The “World Peace Through Chocolate” Artists Reception was pretty crowded inside the Art Show itself, but maybe they’ll have more room next year. Photo taken with permission of the Art Show Staff.
The artwork of John Picacio, the Artist Guest of Honor, was the first thing you saw when you stepped inside the SoonerCon 27 Art Show. During the reception, a whole lot of people stepped inside! Photo taken with permission from the Art Show Staff and John Picacio.

The Friday night “World Peace Through Chocolate”Artists Reception spilled out of the Art Show into the ConSuite area, dubbed “Ten Forward.” The chocolate very quickly disappeared, of course. But we all stayed peaceful.

Panels and Readings 

There were way too many interesting panels and readings to see everything I wanted to! I had a reading and five panels (to my delight, I got to moderate ALL of them! Yes!), and yes, I enjoy staying busy at an sf con, so that was just fine by me. I don’t have pictures of my own events, but here are glimpses of some others I did have a chance to attend and enjoy.

I didn’t have as many chances to listen to author readings as I like, but I did enjoy the trio of Urban Fantasy readings on Saturday morning by (L-R) Trakena PrevostSeth Skorkowskyand Rosemary Clement-Moore.
It would’ve been lovely if the “Black Panther and Intersectionality” panel had been scheduled for two hours and the biggest ballroom–but we had a fascinating discussion, and the room was packed. Panelists, L-R: Kimber ChessmoreTrakena PrevostShai FenwickVickey Malone KennedyJeff ProvineTyrell Gephardt, and Dan Erickson.
The “Because, Aliens!” panel discussion ranged far and wide, from the gradual thinning of hominid species in prehistory, through cryptozoology, genitalia, and would you believe . . . Torah? Panelists, L-R: Tim FrayserTyrell GephardtGloria OliverSelina RosenLinda L. Donahue, and Mark Alfred.
Scheduling the “Do Cons Still Matter?” panel at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday of the convention probably skewed the bias of the audience and participants just a tad, but it was fun to get perspectives from individuals of several different generations, who participate in several different subgenres of fandom. Fielding questions from an engaged audience were (L-R) panelists James MurrayTim FrayserSummer Rain Cosplay, and Caleb Haldane.

Like all good things, eventually the weekend had to end. The magic, along with the costumes and propsgame paraphernaliaart show, and panel discussions, went back into their boxes till next time.

Lowering the “boo” during tear-down and pack-up after the con. This skeleton had spent the weekend suspended over an Artists Alley display, beneath a simulated Pit of Sarlacc. How often do you get to see that?

I thoroughly enjoyed SoonerCon 27. Kudos to Con Chair Aislinn Burrows, the SoonerCon Committee, and the Future Society of Central Oklahoma! You put on a GREAT convention. I’m already looking forward to SoonerCon 28!

IMAGES: All photos were taken by me (Jan S. Gephardt), with appropriate permissions. If you wish to re-post any of them, please do so with an attribution to me as the photographer, and a link back to the post, if possible. Many thanks, and I hope you enjoyed them!

Soon at SoonerCon!

I’m on the road again this week.

This time I’ll travel with my fantasy paper sculpture artwork (including a new piece! Stay tuned for this week’s Image of Interest!), an excerpt to read, from my soon-to-be published sf novel What’s Bred in the Boneand a whole sheaf of program notes to SoonerCon 27 (I’m moderating five panels this weekend).

I hope to see you there!

SoonerCon 27 is this year’s edition of what has become one of my favorite science fiction conventions in recent years. Held at the Reed Center in Midwest City, OK (near Oklahoma City), features a nice location, normally a great crowd of science fiction and fantasy fans, and a strong lineup of professional guests.

My Programming Schedule:

Friday:

5:00 p.m. – Steampunk & Alternate History: a Primer – Jan moderates; fellow panelists: Julie Barrett, David CarricoK.W. Jeter, and Bradley H. Sinor.

8:00-10:00 p.m. – Art Show Reception.

Saturday: 

10:00 a.m. – “SF Sampler” Readings by Walt BoyesJan S. GephardtA. Lee Martinez, and Adrian Simmons.

12:00 noon – Finding Light in Tales of Darkness – Jan moderates; fellow panelists: Cary OsborneTed PennellaAdrian SimmonsSue Sinor, and Seth Skorkowsky.

3:00 p.m. – Murders, Mysteries & Mayhem – Jan moderates; fellow panelists: David CarricoRachel CaineLee KilloughSeth Skorkowskyand Craig Wolf.

5:00 p.m. – From Science Fiction to Science Reality – Jan moderates; fellow panelists: Astronaut Stan LoveLou AntonelliClifford “Kip” McMurrayRichard Morgan, and Adrian Simmons.

6:00 p.m. – Art Auction.

Sunday:

11:00 a.m. – You’ll only Last a Week: A World Without Water – Jan moderates; fellow panelists: Adrian SimmonsDeborah ChesterPaula Helm MurrayRook RileyThe Dream.

A photo from the doorway into last year’s SoonerCon Art Show.

Don’t miss the SoonerCon 27 Art Show!

I’ll have a brand-new paper sculpture on display at this year’s SoonerCon Art Show. It debuts in the art show on Friday 22nd. It also will go live as my Image of Interest on Friday.

Please watch for it–and come to the show, if you’re at SoonerCon!

IMAGES: Many thanks to SoonerCon 27’s website for the opening header. I took the photo from outside the Art Show last year at SoonerCon 26. Feel free to re-post it, but please include an attribution and a link back to this post. Thanks!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén