Santa Cruz, California, September 23, 2015—Spectrum Director John Fleskes has announced that “Spectrum Fantastic Art Live,” the artist-focused convention that has been held for the last four years in Kansas City, will be moving to San Francisco in 2016 in partnership with the esteemed Academy of Art University. The convention will continue its tradition of growing the public’s awareness and appreciation of all manner of fantasy-themed art while bringing creators from around the world to exhibit and sell their works to collectors and fans in a welcoming atmosphere. The event will be held at the academy’s Jerrold building facility on October 28-30, 2016.
“Spectrum Fantastic Art Live” (SFAL) is an extension of the Spectrum annual, the internationally renowned and award-winning book devoted to the year’s best fantastic (i.e., fantasy, science fiction, horror and surreal) art, and the convention provides educational, networking and retail opportunities. At previous shows, two hundred artists from around the world have exhibited their work; art directors from DC Comics, Blizzard Entertainment and Orbit Books have conducted workshops and reviewed portfolios; painters and sculptors have given live demonstrations and shared insights and techniques with eager students; and speakers from Marvel Studios, The New Yorker and Tor Books have entertained and energized audiences. “We’re incredibly excited by the move to San Francisco and the partnership with the Academy of Art University,” say Spectrum founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner. “Though we’re extremely grateful for the support the convention has received in the Midwest, it’s logical that it moves to the West Coast now that John Fleskes, a native Californian, is Spectrum’s director. Spectrum has always been about raising the profile for the fantastic-arts community and increasing opportunities for artists of all sensibilities. The move to San Francisco and the partnership with the Academy of Art University will help that mission continue.”
Beyond the art exhibition, workshops, panels and demonstrations, the long-term plan is for SFAL to expand to serve also as a trade show and job fair. “Whether it’s for film and television, publishing, comics, gaming, advertising or the theater, Spectrum has always been the home for the best and brightest creators of every type of fantastic art,” notes Cathy Fenner. “The show, like the Spectrum annual, makes it easier for art directors to connect directly with both new and established talent. Similarly, gallery owners and patrons are able to meet and form relationships with artists they might not otherwise know about. ‘More eyes equals more opportunities’ has always been our mantra, and the move to California will help that continue.”
John Fleskes, publisher of Flesk Publications and director of Spectrum, has been meeting with Academy of Art University representatives since 2014 in preparation for the move. “San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and sorely lacking of a show dedicated to the arts,” explains Fleskes. “I’ve had a great relationship with a handful of teachers and directors at the Academy of Art University for the past four years, so I decided to broach the idea of moving SFAL here by asking my contacts how we could team up. From my first meeting with the Academy of Art University directors, their passion for the arts and their students was obvious. The Executive Director of Animation & Visual Effects, Chris Armstrong, the Undergraduate Director of the School of Illustration, Chuck Pyle, the Executive Director of School of Game Development, David Goodwine and the pre-production lead for the School of Animation & Visual Effects, Gil Banducci, played a major role in crafting the proposal for President Dr. Elisa Stephens and Vice President Serita Sangimino to review before they ultimately approved the move to the Academy of Art University facilities.”
“The Fenners and I are thrilled to have the support of the Academy of Art University and grateful to Vice President Sangimino and Dr. Stephens for recognizing the value of Spectrum,” adds Fleskes. “We all share the desire to make a positive and fun environment where the doors are open to all and where artists can connect with the each other and the industry for growth. We now have an even-greater vehicle to create job opportunities for students and to raise the recognition for the arts communities as a whole. Furthermore, we are able to expand SFAL to include animation and visual effects, visual development and game development to our already strong focus on comics, dimensional, fantasy, illustration and the science-fiction genres. What we have planned for 2016 is going to be amazing.”
“This event is the perfect collaboration between Spectrum and the university,” shares Pyle. “So many of our alumni are working across the entertainment arts. The incredible talents that Spectrum gathers are an educational industry showcase. This show will help shape our students progress towards becoming the next generation of entertainment artists while sharing with the public the current ‘state of the arts’ in some of the most vital arenas of artistic expression.”
Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art was the first competition and annual book devoted exclusively to “fantastic art.” In the twenty-three years since its inception, it has become a symbol of quality and an invaluable talent resource for the publishing field, the film and entertainment industries, and for art collectors the world over. The series has been honored with eleven Locus Awards and has been nominated for the Hugo Award multiple times. The prestigious Society of Illustrators has hosted three acclaimed Spectrum exhibitions in New York City, and more are in the planning stages. John Fleskes assumed the responsibilities of director and editor in 2013 following the retirement of founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner.
Founded in 1929 in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University is one of the country’s most innovative and creative institutions for higher learning. With nearly 18,000 students, it is the largest privately owned art and design school in the United States.
Guests and further details about the 2016 convention will be announced in the coming weeks.