-By Donato

For those of you who have not yet heard, the first Spectrum Live! was held this past weekend in Kansas City, representing a gathering of the finest minds, professionals and artists practicing within the fields of science fiction, fantasy and concept art.

Notice the key word ‘practicing‘.  This was not an event staged around museum works or academics, but rather a place where comrades slogging their way through the extremely competitive freelance marketplace could share their stories, advice, and work with a like and sympathetic audience.  This was a place to nurture the artistic soul and charge the inspirational batteries of creativity. It was a time to pick the brains of talent, mature and fledgling, for they all had information relevant to share for anyone who wished to engage in conversation.

From the scores of panel presentations, hundreds of booths, and thousands of pieces of art, you were on overload from the moment you stepped into the place.  Arnie and Cathy Fenner (as well as their host of volunteers) put on a top rate professional convention with a captivating Saturday evening for the Spectrum 19 awards ceremony.   This weekend will go down in history as one of the greatest gatherings of talent in our field…we’ll all be proclaiming in years to come ‘I was there!’.

 It was impossible to see everything, talk with everyone and even just say hi to all the friends!  I would say that was the biggest downer to the whole event (if there was one!)- not having enough time to catch up with all the artists, fans and professionals in attendance.  You moved from a conversation with James Gurney onto another with some other artists and over your shoulder saw Brom standing right behind you talking to Petar Meseldzija! You couldn’t ditch the friends you’d just started talking to because they were Julie Bell, Boris Vallejo and Irene Gallo!  What a conundrum!  And it kept going on and on like that all weekend…

Here are a few shots when I remembered to take out the camera (obviously not enough!)  Hopefully some other of my fellow Muddies will post their pictures and accounts as well.

If there is a second event to run next year, you can count me in 100%.  I hope to see you there as well!

Friday night kicks off the socializing with a gathering just outside the convention hall.

A beautiful sunset illunimates the performance space across the lawn.

Mark Nelson, Daren Bader and Brian Despain chuckle it up.

One of Tom Kuebler’s surreal and freakishly real sculptures.

Up past my bedtime for a midnight chat with Mike Mignola, Scott Gustafson, Tom Gianni, Bill Stout and Mark Nelson.  Who wouldn’t stay up for that!!

The lovely Zelda Devon and talented Greg Spalenka.

Irene Gallo shares a story with Kristina Carroll and Stephan Martiniere.

Greg Manchess entertains Eric Fortune and Christian Gossett.

Paul Tobin shares time with Shena Wolf.

Tom Kuebler and Kurt Huggins as giants of the industry!

Michael Whelan (center) spends the last evening of the convention hanging with some artists!

Dan Dos Santos and Lauren Panepinto, the AD at Orbit books, share a laugh (that’s Tony Palumbo in the background)

Justin Gerard (far right) is really much friendlier than the picture lets on!

Frans Vohwinkle (center) and Omar Rayyan (right) chillin’ on the couch

The Donato Arts booth on Sunday evening, ready for break down and good byes… and yes, that is the new Gandalf and the Balrog on Zirak-zigil, premiered at the show, in the foreground.  
‘I threw down my enemy…’
 More on that to come in a later post.