Saturday, 23 August 2014

Art at WorldCon

The Art Show at this year's WorldCon was one of the biggest ever, with over 2,000 pieces of art on display.
I had to take two goes to get round it - my brain was too full!
And what wonderful stuff it was.
Chris Foss was one of the guests of honour, so some of his work was on display, as well as some Grandville panels by Bryan Talbot. They were for sale, too, though well out of our price range - and an auction finished off the art show at the end of the Con.
Jeanne Gomoll, the fan guest of honour, is also an artist - she designed the James Tiptree Jr quilt which was on show on the other side of the dealers' hall, along with Tracy Benson. The quilt is on its way to a permanent home, which I think is a museum or library in Oregon.
Out of the many brilliant artists exhibiting, the one whose work really jumped out at me was Anne Sudworth, who paints wonderfully detailed, realistic pictures. Greetings cards of some of her work were on sale, and I wasn't surprised to find that the one of Whitby Abbey had sold out by the time I made my choice. It was an added bonus to meet the artist herself while I was standing in the queue to pay - and the person in front of me was also buying some of her greetings cards. She has a website at
It wasn't just paintings that were on show - there were sculptures and masks and jewellery and embroidery and clothes with LED lights running through them and model spacecraft and weaving and pictures made with cut out paper. There were even jigsaws, from Judy Peterson.
One artist, Vincent Jo-Nes (there should be an umlaut over the o and an acute accent over the e), paints pictures that glow in the dark, incorporating discarded electronic components. Paola Kathuria creates works of art on computer - the Young Man was very impressed with her work, especially the glowing snail-shell shape called Hexodus. She, too, has a website, at
I rather liked the travel posters, modelled on the 1930 - 50s British Rail posters, but for SF destinations, by Auton Pursur.
Alastair Reynolds turns out to be a man of many talents, too - I knew he was a writer and astronomer, but I had no idea what a good artist he also is.
Each of the stands for the guests of honour to meet and greet had been decorated, too - stuffed dragons and a life sized Wizard of the Pigeons sitting on a bench surrounded by stuffed pigeons for Robin Hobb, for example. There were even some live pigeons on Saturday, of the nine different varieties that Charles Darwin owned and studied.
Costumes were on display, too, as well as photos of people wearing costume - my Young Man knew some of them (he was able to point out Anne Sudworth to me, as well).
There were also Artists in Residence throughout the con, talking, and working and selling merchandise. They included Chris Achilleos - the other really famous Chris who has painted many famous book covers.
There were demonstrations and art classes, too - we passed by while people were sitting in a circle sketching a couple of models in the centre (and yes, one of them was a rather good looking young black man with his shirt off, but it was a complete co-incidence that we kept going past!) There were also demonstrations of bead jewellery, gold leaf, acrylics and oils and watercolour, and clay modelling.
Where writers have the Hugo award (named after Hugo Gernsback, the magazine editor), SF artists have the Chesley, named after Chesley Bonestell, who painted pictures of the Earth from space in beautiful detail before we had ever gone into orbit.
There was even a book of the exhibition, a bargain at £5, fully illustrated in colour.

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