Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Professional Artist

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Julie Dillon
Kirk DouPonce
Jon Eno
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

John Eno was found to be ineligible and was replaced on the ballot with Kirk DouPonce.

There is a lot of quality art being produced by the 2015 nominees. Julie Dillon, last year's winner for Professional Artist, continued to produce excellent work. Based on their work included in the Hugo Voter's Packet, Greenwood, Pollack, and DouPonce have also produced good work. As a point of personal preference, Greenwood is my top choice here, but it was very close between Dillon and Greenwood. While referencing the Voter's Packet is a touch unfair because unless you're also a voter, you can't see that work. Unfortunately, except for Dillon, none of the other nominees have work posted at the Hugo Eligible Artists tumblr (a great reference for both fan and pro work, by the way), but you should be able to browse the various websites I've linked above to get a feel for their work.

Sadly, I am using No Award again here in Professional Artist. Carter Reid is the writer and artist behind the Zombie Nation webcomic and while his art style fits the work he is doing with that particular comic quite well, it doesn't stand well next to the other nominees.

My vote:
1. Nick Greenwood
2. Julie Dillon
3. Alan Pollack
4. Kirk DouPonce
5. No Award

Standard 2015 Hugo Disclaimer:
In a typical year, I just jump right into whichever category I'm writing about and let my thoughts sort out the whole mess. This is not a typical year, so I'd like to start by talking a little bit about how I'm going to work through the various Hugo Award categories and how I am going to vote. Simply put, I am going to read everything. If I feel the work is strong enough to merit a ranked vote, I will vote for it in whatever order feels most appropriate. If I feel the work is not strong enough to merit ranking it above No Award, I will not do so.  But at no point am I making a blanket statement about Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies or that I've heard Thomas Heuvelt may have been campaigning for a nomination or anything else that I am not aware of.  The ballot is what the ballot is and I will treat it as such.

I am also working with the same methodology as I have in the past, which is to say that there are frequently works and writers on the ballot that I simply and strongly disagree with. In most cases, I have still ranked those works above No Award. I don't believe I have always done this, and I know if I had participated last year, one novel would have been below No Award because I bounced so hard off of the first book in that series that I really can't understand how the second also managed a nomination - and that writer is a Hugo favorite. Most stories compare to works that have previously been on the ballot, so those works that meet my low-bar criteria will secure my vote.


Doctor Science said...

The trouble with Greenwood is that most of the images in his packet are not from 2014. This isn't terrifically surprising, because lots of artists have this problem, and the Puppy nominees are especially bad (cf. disqualification of Jon Eno).

Here's what I'm talking about: the timestamp on Chiggoth.jpg says it was created 10/1/2008. A B&W version is on Greenwood's site as © 2010. A color version is on a kickstarter page for the game it illustrates, dated 2013. Moreover, I seriously doubt that the game qualifies as "professional" under Hugo rules.

As far as I can tell, the only qualifying works in Greenwood's packet are the two novel covers, which I'm sure you'll agree are NOT Hugo-worthy.

Joe said...

Shit. That's a problem. I need to do some research, because I need to know that the work was from last year.

Joe said...

On the plus side, his work at Intergalactic Medicine Show (issues 37 through 42 were published in 2014) is good. Still looking for more 2014 work, just to have a better point of comparison.

Doctor Science said...

Here's what I've found so far (I'm working on a post, but you get special delivery!):

I started to wonder about the issue when I happened to notice the "Date taken" timestamps as I looked at the packets in Windows Explorer. Not all images have those, unfortunately.

A number of the images in Dillon's packet have pre-2014 timestamps. However, as near as I can tell these are all images she's been working on for a long time, but were only published (on her deviantart) as part of her book project kickstarter. For instance, Menagerie, "taken" (i.e. started) in 2012, which she posted in 2014 and said she'd been working on "for years".

For Greenwood, only the two novel covers are 2014.

For DouPonce, it looks as though we have to look at each image individually -- for those of us who don't just decide, "it's a Puppy and Do Not Want." Which is my personal inclination, frankly! The green-eyed skull image from DouPonce, for instance, was the cover of Day's 2012 novel.

I then checked the newest image in DouPonce's packet, and found it won't be officially published until 2016. Ugh.

Pollack: all qualify.

Doctor Science said...


Will you be Attending this year? I can't make it this year due to multiple out-of-my-control conflicts, but I'm thinking of putting together a proposed rule change.

Joe said...

Which means the voter's packet is mostly useless for professional artist and we need to do a lot of extra research. I'm glad I found the IGMS file on Greenwood, so at least I can verify he did good work last year.

But, it means we need to dig deeper - which we shouldn't have to do.

When you get that article posted, can you link it up here? I'd like to read it.

I won't be attending. That's not in the cards for a number of years, though in terms of location - 2016 would probably be my best bet. Maybe I'll just wait for Worldcon: Minneapolis.

Side note: If you nominated, did you notice the blank space next to the artist's name? The original intent was that a nominator was supposed to list an eligible work for the artist - and the worldcon committee would vet those works to make sure the artist was eligible - but the language for the category rule change was reworded so that that particular field become functionally useless and slightly confusing. It would have worked so much better if the original proposal (which the artists liked) had passed, rather than what did (which many artists did not).

Doctor Science said...

No, I didn't notice. :( What year was the rule change you're talking about? Who sponsored the one the artists liked?

Joe said...

What I know is from a private e-mail conversation with someone very much in the know on this, but because it was a private conversation (even one from five years ago), I don't feel comfortable naming specifically who was involved in the e-mail conversation. The actual proposal, though, is public information and was submitted by Donato Giancola and Irene Gallo in 2006.

You can dig into the minutes of the business meeting here. Though, I'll admit that's a pain and I'm not used to reading minutes, so I think a lot of the arguing is lost. Start at 4.3.1

The relevant perspective from the perspective of an individual involved but was not one of the named submitters of the change, which I think I can share without name dropping since you can get hints of this from the business meeting minutes: "We wanted to put the onus on the voter to have to include an eligible work next to the artist's name on their ballot, and if that work was found to be ineligible, then the vote would be disqualified in that category. It would help eliminate the nomination of artists who had not produced eligible work in the previous year, which is just common-sense. Instead, the administrators voted to include the blank space for a nominating work, but voted to amend the language so that the work nominated would not have any bearing on the eligibility of the vote."

Doctor Science said...

Here's my post on the topic, the first of a series I fear.

Joe said...

Thank you.

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