Hugo Nominations – Best Professional Artist & Best Fan Artist
Like Ian Sales, these are several Hugo categories that I have big problems with but I think these two categories should simply be merged. The idea of both the Best Pro Artist and Best Fan Artist categories is to reward an artist for a body of work over a year. I see no reason why the issue of payment should come into it.
Not only is it a difficult distinction to draw, it is not present in the other categories. The only other time the word ‘fan’ appears is in Best Fan Writer and there it is as much a description of the type of writing being awarded (writing about speculative fiction) as it is the person being awarded. You can probably count the number of people who make a living from writing about SF on one of John Clute’s fingers. Nor is it a distinction that makes any appearance in the awards for writing speculative fiction itself which are all based on word count. So, for example, Seanan McGuire’s self- published story ‘In Sea-Salt Tears’ appeared on last year’s Best Novelette shortlist. In the only other categories that are awarded to individuals rather than works, the two Best Editor awards, the distinction is again the form of the content rather than the economic status of the producer of the content (this also brings us into semi-prozine territory – more on that later). So below are my two individual sets of nominations but in an ideal world, they would single set of Best Artist nominations.
Best Pro Artist
Best Fan Artist
Another unique feature of these categories is the relative anonymity of SF art, despite its ubiquity. You might well picked up a book because of its cover but you probably won’t know who was responsible. So I’m very grateful to people like Aidan Moher who post about art throughout the
year and this post was only possible because of him, Justin Landon, Liz Batty and Lady Business. But I’m even more appreciative of the Hugo Award Eligible Art(ists) Tumblr. This is everything that author eligibility posts aren’t: a neutral third-party space that crowd-sources information from artists and fans alike and presents this side-by-side allowing nominators to easily compare the quality of these suggestions.
But my knowledge of the field is still weak and you may have noticed that I’ve only selected four artist for each category. Please lobby me in the comments with your recommendation for the fifth spot. Feel free to tell me why my other nominations are wrong and should be replaced too!