I think I gave up on this thing yesterday when I passed a booth where they were pushing the upcoming Species III movie... and they had this big glassed-in bed with a live, bored-looking model inside, wearing a bikini and fondling a fake snake.
There have still been some good parts.
I went to a fantasy illustrators' panel yesterday, and it was nice to hear them affirming things I've been discovering for myself, but didn't know if "real" pro artists agreed... things like it being tremendously difficult to build up a body of work that's consistent in style and technique, because your art changes as you do, and if you force yourself into a given style the quality of your work will suffer. But of course the buyers and marketers of art don't care about that - they want someone they can pigeonhole and classify, apply shiny little buzzwords to so they don't have to try to actually think about it.
They were also all commenting, and mostly lamenting, the fact that it never ever looks as good on paper as it does in their head. (This from people like Dave McKean, Donato Giancola, Brian Froud.... wow.) And one man remarked that he was glad it was like that, because it would be too boring if all you were doing was repeating what was in your head.
Later yesterday I went to Gaiman and McKean's talk about their new movie Mirrormask (they've been having technical issues, so it likely won't be out till early '05). Saw some preview clips - oh my gods WOW. This is Dave McKean's artwork come alive, living and breathing. It was like nothing I've ever seen.
Then today I went to see Ray Bradbury speak. I can't describe how amazing that was, but I'll try.
He told a story about how the Smithsonian planetarium was boring people to tears - they were falling asleep in the show. They called him in and asked "what are we doing wrong?" Bradbury said "You're trying to teach when you should be preaching. A planetarium is a church, a synagogue, a cathedral to time and space. You don't need to teach them - inspire them, and they'll teach themselves." (break for a solid minute of applause.) Bradbury then wrote a thirty-two page presentation for the Smithsonian. Two days later, they gave him back twenty-eight pages of criticism. Much back-and-forth and crossing of wires followed, and eventually Bradbury took his presentation and gave it to the LA Air&Space museum where it's been playing for the last 28 years.
And then there was this. "Be careful of writing high-tech stories," he said. "They become obsolete, dated. Stay away from politics for the same reason." (more raucous applause.) "But if you write myths - I don't write science fiction, Farenheit 451 is the only science fiction I've ever written - I write fantasies. If you write myths, like I do, your work will live forever."
I felt sorry for the man after the presentation - he was instantly mobbed by several hundred people wanting autographs and whatnot. Bradbury is in his eighties, in a wheelchair, and half deaf - leave him the hell alone, and at least move back when his handlers tell you to! This is one of the things that pisses me the fuck off about fans. They get so wrapped up in some other person's universe, so mesmerized by their work, that they forget that there's a *person* in there. They idolize him, but forget all about respect.
Oh, but the good news is I didn't come completely dry out of the art show this year - I sold at least one print. Hey, nearly enough to pay the hanging fee, whoopee. But it's something.