The 2017 Grand Master Award was presented April 22 at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, MO during Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. As determined by the Spectrum Advisory Board—consisting of Brom, Alice Carter, Mark Chiarello, Cathy Fenner, Rebecca Guay, James Gurney, Charles Kochman, Iain McCaig, and Virginie Ropars—the Grand Master Award is intended as recognition of an influential artist’s significant achievements within—and contribution to—the field of Fantastic Art.
Born May 8, 1958 in Blakely, PA, Boleslav William Felix Robert “Bill” Sienkiewicz began drawing when he “was about four or five” and has never stopped. After attending the Newark School of Fine Art and Industrial Design, Bill launched his career at the age of 19 with assignments for Marvel Comics. Though initially showing the influence of Neal Adams (as well as earlier comics artists Curt Swan and Jack Kirby), he quickly evolved into a wholly original and unique creator; using his solid drawing skills as a springboard, Bill literally broke all the “rules” of sequential storytelling and cheerfully experimented with paint, pencil, ink, collage, and practically any other media he could lay his hands on and apply to a surface. From job to job, from book to book, readers never knew what to expect from him other than something wonderful—and he delivered. Bill subsequently brought that same sense of excitement, urgency, and innovation to his illustration and advertising assignments as well.