Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, a fantasy-themed arts convention, was held in Kansas City last weekend and I was there at my table on Friday and Saturday. I’d decided pretty late that I wanted to bring sculpture along with photography, and that the only way to do that was to drive from Phoenix… a 22 hour drive through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas into Missouri. Somewhere in my head I figured the gas would be equivalent to renting a car and hotel rooms in downtown KC. Silly me!
meeting some of the guys from Sidebar, one of my favorite podcasts
my first “life drawing” experience with nude models (keep in mind I’ve photographed nudes 100 times, yet I’ve never had a life drawing experience)
attending Frank Cho’s live drawing Q+A. I like Frank as an artist. He has strong opinions about Modern Art (“it’s all a scam, it’s crap”) that I think are ill-informed but he has his reasons and prejudices I guess.
meeting a lot of artists from other parts of the country, and seeing some truly stunning sculpture done live.
watching the film “Making It” which premiered at SFAL, which I enjoyed for its collection of honest interviews.
As for some general observations:
The filmmakers chronicled a year in the lives of 3 of their artist friends. After the film, a female audience member questioned the film panel on it’s lack of diversity, and one artist involved claimed it would have cost “twice as much” to include more female creators. The actual filmmakers backpedaled this and eventually got to the point where they said “these are guys we know and have access to,” but it was a weird moment that female creators at the table next to me were talking about that next morning.
I don’t attend that many shows but I’m aware of the ongoing back-and-forth about the presentation of women in fantasy art and comics, lack of diversity among creators, and between Frank Cho (who says he’s a “real pervert” and draws “pornography” in reference to his high T+A quotient) and the “Making It” kerfuffle, the problems are definitely real. There are a lot of guys who perceive geek culture as their boys club- maybe they never could relate to women, or were very introverted and scared around them, so their experience is limited to fantasy representations. People who can’t have positive intimate relationships get weird ideas of how the world works, they develop weird and negative attitudes.
Overall, SFAL was a chance to introduce my work to a crowd very far from home. With the show in the rear-
view mirror, I’m turning the “show” trip into a “photo” trip in New Mexico and Arizona to justify the cost of gas.