Cathy Fen­ner

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation | News -

In­dus­try insight A co-founder of widely re­spected art an­nual Spec­trum, Cathy has

seen dig­i­tal cre­ativ­ity come into its own in fan­tasy art…

When did you re­alise dig­i­tal art tools would have a big im­pact?

Al­most from the be­gin­ning. We went to the na­tional launch of the Mac in 1984 and bought ma­chines with a gi­gan­tic 8MB of RAM! It was the in­tro­duc­tion of Pho­to­shop and Painter that were the game chang­ers: any­thing be­came pos­si­ble at that point. The ad­di­tion of qual­ity desk­top scan­ners opened fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Did you ever see it as a face-off be­tween dig­i­tal and tra­di­tional?

As com­mer­cial artists we just saw it as an­other tool in our work­shop. Any­one who dis­misses dig­i­tal art or di­min­ishes the abil­i­ties of those who cre­ate that way is fool­ish. The com­puter creates noth­ing: it takes the skill and in­tel­lect of an artist to cre­ate.

What are the best and worst things to have hap­pened thanks to artists shar­ing work dig­i­tally?

The best, per­haps, is the growth of the au­di­ence for all man­ner of fan­tas­tic art and the grow­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­act and net­work with their clients, fans, and peers. The worst is a gen­eral de­valu­ing of artis­tic skill and art in gen­eral: the in­ter­net has fo­mented a cul­ture of some­thing-for-noth­ing. Far too many want art, en­ter­tain­ment, in­for­ma­tion, what­ever, for free with­out hav­ing to com­pen­sate the cre­ator, much less re­spect their copy­rights.

When you founded Spec­trum in 1993, what did you ex­pect?

We had no way of know­ing what to ex­pect. Spec­trum could have eas­ily been a one-and-done. But the art com­mu­nity got be­hind it and, 23 years later, Spec­trum has the largest cir­cu­la­tion of vir­tu­ally any art an­nual – all thanks to the artists, art direc­tors, and read­ers.

How much have women artists been able to ad­vance over the pre­vi­ous 10 years?

There have al­ways been women il­lus­tra­tors and gallery pain­ters, but their ac­com­plish­ments have of­ten been over­shad­owed by their male peers for var­i­ous rea­sons. As more women pur­sued ca­reers in the arts it’s not sur­pris­ing the num­ber of women fan­tasy artists has in­creased. Suc­cess­ful art re­lies on imag­i­na­tion, skill, in­tel­lect and fo­cus. Whether it’s cre­ated by a man or woman doesn’t really mat­ter, as artists like Cyn­thia Shep­herd and Karla Or­tiz among oth­ers prove.

The lat­est edi­tion of Spec­trum, with cover art by French artist Bastien Le­couffe De­harme.

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