Do You Have Angst?: Inspiration from Fantasy Art

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inspiration from Fantasy Art

I love art, but I’ve never had an eye for it.  I tell people it is because I’m red-green color blind (the same excuse I use for the clothes I wear) but the truth is I could be completely blind for much of it.  For example, show me modern art and often I just don’t get it.  Throw around terms, or styles, or periods, and you may as well be talking in programming code.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire the artist, and that they are expressing themselves, but often my little-art-brain just doesn’t get it.

Thankfully, there is fantasy art.  Amazing people can take the type of stuff that I enjoy writing and visualize it enough to paint it, or draw it, or medium-of-your-choice-it.  This blows my mind because I can’t draw a meaningful curved line if my life depended on it.  Give me a ruler, and I’ll make you a box.  That’s all I’ve got.

Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at the Spectrum Fantastic Art show in Kansas City with my wife and daughter.  This wasn’t a typical fantasy show with writers and and costumed fans, throw in some talented local artists and voila you have a fun weekend.  This was about art, and some amazing people that express their love of everything fantasy through their art.

First, I’m glad I didn’t come prepared to buy anything.  There were original pieces being sold for over $20K.  Angie and I had a fun conversation of how amazing it would be to decorate an entire house with paintings from this show.  Everything was on display, including traditional fantasy, commercial, and erotica (according to my 13 yo daughter, there were too many boobs).

Second, it was inspiring.  I’ve been told many times that you are supposed to read A LOT in your genre.  I don’t.  The last thing I want to do is accidentally steal or borrow from someone else’s work.  There have been plenty of occasions that I’ve said, “Damn, I would write something like that!”  So I’m careful when I read and see things, but this show was full of what-if inspirations.  “I could do this in the next Angst novel!” came to mind multiple times.  It wasn’t about stealing artist’s ideas and fitting them into my stories, their art became triggers for ideas that will grow into their own.  I’m excited.

Finally, I got to meet people.  A Twitter friend, Eric Wieringa kindly asked me to visit his booth.  It was a pleasure to meet Eric and see his amazing work.

The highlight of my weekend was seeing old friends Jeff Miracola and his lovely and talented wife Silvia Acevedo .  Jeff’s work with Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and his children’s book Monster Isle  is both highly acclaimed and well known.  Everything Silvia has accomplished is equally impressive, and the biography on her site doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she has done.  To say it was a treat to see them both is an understatement, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.  I brought them a copy of Angst, and then we had a good laugh over how ‘excited’ they were to receive it.  It was good fun, and Jeff provided some great advice for the fantasy show, ConQuestKC, I get to participate in next week.

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