-By Arnie Fenner

The deadline for entries to Spectrum 24 is just a bit more than a month away so I thought, as a way of reminding, I’d share this piece with comments from John Fleskes and the members of this year’s jury.

I’ve talked many times over the years about Spectrum’s mission, about the good that it has done for our creative family, about the opportunities it has created for all artists by helping to raise the awareness of and appreciation for our field for nearly a quarter of a century. But I’d also like to emphasize again that it can only exist because of everyone’s support. Without the community’s active participation each year…there’s no Spectrum. Every artist that enters the competition, regardless of the results, is valued; every art director that uses it as resource, every collector that uses it as a creator guide, every reader that buys, gives, or shares a copy, every person that talks about the artists, the competition, and the book are all equally important.

Regardless of what artists choose to call themselves—illustrator, painter, imaginative realist, outsider, Fine Artist, et al—or how they choose to create, Spectrum is a high-profile platform (and, to the naysayers, validation) for our field. But never assume that Spectrum is impervious to market challenges, that it will always be around: it can only continue to do its job, can only fulfill its mission, with your help. Please join in this year! As I’ve said before, the synergy of Spectrum is a result of our combined efforts; it always has, it always will.

(Oh, and if you haven’t picked up your copy of Spectrum 23 yet, well, what a nice Christmas present!)

Spectrum 24–the premier international showcase for the best in contemporary fantastic art–is now open for entries! All artists, art directors and publishers are welcome to participate. Read the official press release to learn more about Spectrum and the Spectrum 24 jury.

This is an invitation to all professional and student artists, art directors, publishers and artists’ representatives to submit entries to the 24th Annual Spectrum International Competition for Fantastic Art. All artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible for this show. Fantastic art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: There is no unacceptable way to create art, and there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Imagination and skill are what matters. Work chosen by the jury will be printed in full color in the Spectrum annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts. Click here to submit.

The Spectrum 24 Call for Entries poster art is by the revered fantasy illustrator and educator, Justin Gerard. This poster mails for free in the U.S.A to our Spectrum mailing list. If you would like to receive a poster you can fill out the online form here.

The Spectrum 24 jury is comprised of a five member panel of some of the most exceptional artists working in the industry today consisting of Christian Alzmann, Laurie Lee Brom, Mark Newman, John Picacio and Victo Ngai.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the jury we have brought together for Spectrum 24,” shares Spectrum director, John Fleskes. “I invited this quintet based on their outstanding work in the field. Furthermore, each has a shared passion for digital and traditional methods and they are well-versed on a wide range of contemporary fantastic art. Also of importance is that they all give back to the community through sharing online, teaching or in other ways. These five are extraordinary people in the industry who will do a superb job making the selections for inclusion into Spectrum 24.”

The Spectrum 24 jury has a deep passion for the annual, which is reflected by their praise of its community and contents.

An enthusiastic lawyer in DC’s legal department sent us a C&D letter when we ran Rick Berry’s “Death” digital painting on the cover of Vol. 2. It all worked out fine, thanks to supportive DC execs Paul Levitz, Bob Wayne, and Georg Brewer. Each year virtually all of the major comics, gaming, film, and publishing companies work closely with us and grant permissions to help make Spectrum truly representative of the fantastic art field.

“In 1995, while deciding whether or not to go to art school, I purchased my first Spectrum,” expresses Christian Alzmann. “It was Spectrum 2 and Frank Frazetta was Grand Master. I have bought every edition since because I am always equally inspired and humbled by what’s on its pages.”

“Spectrum and the Spectrum community have had such a huge influence on me and on the creative direction of my art,” confesses Laurie Lee Brom. “I cannot wait to feast my eyes on the entries for Spectrum 24, and am ecstatic to be on the jury!”

“I’m truly honored to be chosen as one of the jurors on this year’s Spectrum publication,” says Mark Newman. “The first time I submitted work was way back in book 3 and ever since I’ve been a big fan and thrilled to be included in quite a few issues. Spectrum represents the best of contemporary fantastical art and I feel blessed to be given the chance to contribute in this way as a juror. Thank you John and a Big High Five for keeping this wonderful tradition alive.”

“Spectrum represents such a rich visual history and standard of excellence for what we collectively dream in the fantastic art field,” states John Picacio. “I’ve always been grateful any time my work was selected for inclusion in the annual, and it’s a profound honor and responsibility to give back to the book this year as a juror.”

“Spectrum is one of the few illustration competitions I enter religiously every year since I graduated college,” offers Victo Ngai. “From getting in the first time, to my first medal, to creating the call for entry poster, Spectrum has been a goal, a running-mate and milestones in my career. This year, I am very humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the jury for the first time, can’t wait to see the brutal behind-the-scenes of this prestigious and highly selective competition.”

For over twenty-three years the Spectrum annual has been a showcase for the best and brightest creators of fantastic art from around the globe: it serves as an invaluable resource book for art directors, art buyers, publishers and agents world-wide. Hundreds of copies are sent out gratis with the intent of generating additional work and exposure for the artists selected for inclusion in the annual. The circulation of Spectrum far exceeds those of other annuals and resource books; we deliberately maintain a price that makes it affordable for every budget. Our purpose and singular agenda is the promotion of the art and artists. We believe that Spectrum functions as a cost-efficient promotional forum and provides a bridge between creator, client, and aficionado as well. Spectrum is all about facilitating opportunities for creators, about growing the audience for imaginative work in all its forms, without pretension and without prejudice.

The Spectrum 24—and Grand Master and Rising Star—awards will be presented at the historic Folly Theater in Kansas City April 22 in conjunction with Spectrum Fantastic Art Live.

The largest of this field’s competitions is also the toughest to make; the act of entering art does not guarantee inclusion in the book. Not everyone gets in. The “excellence bar” is raised every year: the job of the jury to make selections gets increasingly difficult. Not being selected is not a personal criticism of the artist, but having your work chosen by the judges is of significance. Join with us to help celebrate twenty-three years by making this volume the best yet: considering the excellence of the work in the previous twenty-three books, it will be no small task, but we’re confident you all can do it.

For more information about Spectrum please visit www.spectrumfantasticart.com

All inquiries can be sent to info@spectrumfantasticart.com