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We here I am again… after another loooooooong absence. For whatever reason I just haven’t felt driven to create much art this year, and something in me feels guilty about coming to DA purely as a spectator. All I can say is that I sure hope this lull passes because I’m much happier when I’m creating!

I’d be lying if I said political anxiety here in the U.S. wasn’t part of the problem and with the outcome of the last election I find myself driven to become even more politically engaged to preserve the progress made over the last couple of decades. But I’ll attempt to minimize bringing my political baggage into the DA sphere which is about art, entertainment, and escape. I know that barrier won’t be 100% impermeable, but I’ll do what I can.

I’d like to shout out a BIG thank you to whoever gave me the anonymous membership boost! That was a joy to discover… and joys are a valuable commodity of late. I’ll try to participate more and make the expense worth your while… but “try” is the best I can promise and clearly doesn’t pass Yoda muster.

My first book cover of 2017 just rolled out this week! It’s not precisely a “new” work, but it’s a tuned up older image and it’s on James Cambias’ first self-published e-book, “Outlaws & Aliens”. This is affordable entry into Jim’s work, if you haven’t already read him. He tends to write good SF adventure with a solid science underpinning. I hesitate to actually to use “hard SF” to describe it since, to many, that implies dry, concept driven work. Jim’s work ain’t dry and it won’t require a calculator to appreciate. He has two fun novels already published by Tor Books: “A Darkling Sea” and “Corsair”. I can heartily recommend both!

www.amazon.com/James-L.-Cambia…

And how about that "Rogue One"? I haven't enjoyed a Star Wars film as much since "The Empire Strikes Back"! As always let me close with a selection of neat DA stuff you might have missed… and my personal wish for ALL of us to have a happy, fulfilling 2017.

Hidden-base by bluesey Friendship 7 by GrahamTG Mosquito pair by jncarter  Spruce Moose by Alex-Brady-TAD  Space Engineers_ Journey by IvanLaliashvili  Filming the Aquashuttle by thefirstfleet     Ambition 1 Lander by MacRebisz The business end by GrahamTG Gem Cosplay from The Empath ST TOS by imonlyhalfvulcan Epistellar Horizon by elreviae Discovering by QAuZ Thunderzeka by Andrei-Pervukhin Blade Runner by MarkRaats Sulphur Fields by TK769 They should have sent a poet by Colourbrand

Pool Party... 7 by erogenesisCGI Seventh Sister by Rathskeller7  Ambition 1 Ascent by MacRebisz  SEVEN JEDI Final Poster Struzan Inspired by hapajedi To Golden Light by QAuZ  Commissioned: The Lorentz (Updated) by Colourbrand Aspirations by jollyjack  Flyby III by ahaas  Warthog says 'BRRRRRRRRRRT' by Loopydave

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: Not enough!!
  • Watching: Netflix's "Travelers"
  • Playing: Exploding Kittens
  • Eating: Well
  • Drinking: Less
Hi! How are you all? I've been pretty AWOL over the last half year. It wasn't a conscious decision, but rather driven by the fact that I just haven't been doing much art myself. I guess you could call it a creative dry spell. Whatever the case I'm hoping that it doesn't plague me too much longer. I appreciate all the varied "welcome back" messages folks have dropped me.

While I may not have much in the way of new stuff got show, I have been asked to be part of the digital art gallery for the Museum of Science Fiction's "Escape Velocity" event, in Washington, DC on July 1-3. Their own description of the vent is as follows: "Escape Velocity is part comic con, part science fair, where we’ll have amazing guests, discussion panels, technology demonstrations, workshops, costumes, parties, concerts and more. Escape Velocity seeks to make a measurable positive impact to boost informal learning on the more conceptually challenging academic areas." You can read more about the event, here:

escapevelocity.events/

Meanwhile, life goes on around me/us, hm? Gravity wave detections. Space-X rocket landings. New dinosaur species discovered almost every week and new finds illuminating their plumage. A new fundamental subatomic particle threatening detection. All told it's a damn exciting time to be alive, once you read past the melodramatic election and Brexit headlines. And there's still some damn fine artists makin' stuff on DA…. like these talented lads and lassies!! Click the thumbnails to explore deeper.

'Rhamphorhynchus' by Vincent-Covielloart Giants In the Playground X The Traveller by AdrianMarkGillespie Solar Sails II by GrahamTG The Departure. by duster132 Spiclypeus shipporum by atrox1 New and Improved - tee by InfinityWave Near the Sun by elreviae Upon the hand by arcipello Moff Hamster by jollyjack Ambush by rOEN911 Skydrops by Abiogenisis Saurolophus by Vincent-Covielloart Icy Moons Probe by Abiogenisis Filming Polaris by thefirstfleet Theory Of Machines by KuldarLeement TRON: Legacy - Private Commission.. by MarkRaats Kronos at Mars II by MacRebisz Lights Beneath The Lake by arcipello
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "The Speed of Dark" by Eliz. Moon
  • Watching: 12 Monkeys Season 1
Dead parrot jokes aside, I’ve been AWOL for quite a few months. My creative spirit has been… well, someplace else. Beyond my professional work I haven’t been doing much… unless you count reading and watching movies. Maybe my tank’s run dry, in which case I’ll continue to refuel and hope for the best. Life’s also been throwing other distractions my way, so it’s all part of “not on DA much” equation.

A BIG thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. Sorry I wasn’t around much to take it all in, but trust me when I say they were met with belated and heartfelt appreciation.

I hope to be around a bit more in the coming months, but… the best of intentions and all that rot. We’ll just have to see how my time gets used up. But it was great to cruise the deviations that have piled up since I last got to look through things… and here are some choice picks, in case you missed these. ‘Til next time, I hope you coming holidays are relaxing and fun! If they’re not you should look into fixing that.

Ezonova 2 by KuldarLeement EXPANSE cosplay: Amos Burton by Rob-Cavanna Realm of Shades by TobiasRoetsch Star Trek: Starlost by AbaKon Just Outside the Box - Bonaventure by Ptrope Limbo for Unicorns by lora-zombie Alien life by thefirstfleet Touch Down! by Chrisofedf Nyctosaurus by Vincent-Covielloart The Blue Star by Colourbrand :thumb546106244: Shipping and Receiving by bagtaggar Pascal-blanche-armored-goose-low by pascalblanche Cloud Regatta by RHADS Desert Ship by Darkcloud013 Crankshaft Oasis by artofjokinen Kronos 1 - WIP 3 by MacRebisz Denizens vs II by AdrianMarkGillespie RM Hyperon #3 by 600v

Yolk by sauco-m Another Outing For My Von Braun Moonship by Paul-Lloyd Space Orbit ID by Karezoid In the woods by MetalSnail Endeavour by sketchboook Colony by Phade01 Three Pistons Lodge by artofjokinen Starbase 4 by HandofManos

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Ancilliary Sword" by Ann Leckie
  • Watching: Season 4: Person of Interest

While I haven’t yet seen it yet, the theme’s in Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland” movie have a certain tangency with my own recent thoughts and observations on science fiction and futurism. Many – particularly in my own generation – seem to pine for the future we were promised in the 60’s and 70’s. The reading (and re-reading) choices of many of my peers seem to reflect that by turning our imaginations back to the future possibilities painted when looking ahead from the mid-20th century.

Coupled with that trend of looking backwards for our future, I hear again and again that optimism is harder to find when looking forward from today and/or that today’s scifi writers are wallowing in dystopian futures. And I can’t disagree with either of those observations. But the question that now plagues me is “why”?

The human capacity for hope is great, as is our ability to make lemonade from lemons. So what’s impeding that? Our problems today are great, but they’re not insurmountable. What stands in the way of our ability to see beyond our current challenges? My own answer to that is the lessening power of the public will in the face of moneyed an corporate interests. The unregulated free market is consolidating the power to steer our species’ direction towards their increased profits and power, not to interests that serve the greater public - that is OUR dreams and desires.

In short, the average citizen feels increasingly powerless to affect change and realize their larger dreams for the future. So when we look forward, we tend to see this trend grow. At least that’s my own working theory. What’s yours? What’s getting in the way of looking ahead with optimistic eyes? And how do we get past it?

 

So while we’re on the subject of inspiration, dig some of the great, recentish (OK… and some golden oldies) works around DA!

  USS Discovery  XR-d1 NASA by bagera3005 Prepare For Arrival by overseer  Strike Force by rOEN911 February 2105 by DarrenMyners Dodge 110 Custom Truck by GaryCampesi<da:thumb id="361208638"/> Prometheus Base by SMPritchard Return of the Argonauts by Drell-7 A Mother's Embrace by Ebonenee The wasteland starlift by thefirstfleet Interstellar Wormhole by ErikShoemaker Territorial Dispute by KatePfeilschiefter

Mature Content

Lali's little afterparty by erogenesisCGI
  Nomad Desert Blimp by AdrianMarkGillespie  The Galactic Nomads by Fredy3D  NASA Shuttle Concept Advanced Next Generation by GeneralTate  Bathing with blossoms by gestiefeltekatze B5 Kudu Twins by CrazyAsian1 Seaplane by Lipatov  A Day At The Beach (revised) by Paul-Lloyd Spring Day is Coming by SharksDen H. P. LOVECRAFT - 125th Anniversary Exhibition by RUIZBURGOS 007 Skyfall by MarkRaats 
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Apex" by Ramez Naam
  • Watching: Mad Max: Fury Road!
I guess this is a second chapter to my earlier blog, “Are SF Writers Leading or Following?” I think the answer to that question is “both”. Since that earlier piece I’ve only seen more retreat – particularly with my middle-aged peers – from embracing new SF in favor of going back to the well-worn path of creative fruits from the late, mid, or early 20th century. The most obvious reason seems to be that the outlook from where we stand now is not particularly inviting, with global warming (or the exhausting effort to deny it), a reduction in ambitious visions of manned space  exploration (unless you’re Chinese), an increase in global obesity, the continued rise of religious extremism, the uncertainties of where the digital age is leading us, the empowerment of plutocracies in “the Free West” and the coming tests (and turmoil) over the validity of the capitalist model.

Given all that who can blame someone for looking “backwards” for a vision of the future. It’s not realistic… but it can be comforting. However now more than ever scifi has a role to play. The future before us is probably less predictable than the one we saw in the latter 20th century, but face it: while that “old future” seemed brighter, it didn’t turn out to be the path reality chose to walk.

So increasingly I see a division in SF fandom (and pros): those who accept the challenge of unblinkingly looking to the future from today’s vantage, and those turning their backs in favor of “comfort food fiction”. One is a pursuit of scifi’s mission. The other is an exercise in nostalgia (I think this includes all Star Trek’s manifestations, to date). The old stuff may still be entertaining, but it’s “off-mission”. Fresh SF has a shelf life.

I expect to see this audience divide (let me label it “progressive SF” vs. “conservative SF”, for lack of better terms, though the political associations are not relevant) grow even more obvious in the next few years, or at least become more clearly divided.

[disable cranky SF purist mode] OK. You’ve endured that, now a treat – ART!!!! GO!, my DA brothers and sisters!!! Feed your eyes and imaginations!

Max Rebo Band by Montygog Do your best impression of Batman by jadenwithwings Contact by Abiogenisis Super Dreadnought Axbet by Daemoria Snowgoose spaceplane 1 by Alex-Brady-TAD :thumb398831157: Gargoyle by KaranaK 2010 - The Year We Make Contact by Steve-T3D Arriving by martydesign
  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Up Against It" by M.J. Locke
  • Watching: Person of Interest
I survived Snowmageddon! Honestly it wasn’t too bad here. The other side of the state – Boston – got at least twice the snowfall we got out here. No, it’s not the snow that hit us bad, it was the thaw! Ice dams on the roof edge piled water back under the “roof glacier” and caused it to drip down into the ceiling. The upper surface of my studio office now looks and smells like the site of a horrific rodent holocaust.

But hey – the plus side is Spring 2016 is well on its way to hatching, with green sprouts and chipmunks making their appearance in the front yard. I spent most of the last four weeks on a couple of book covers. First is the cover for “Star Trek: Seekers 4” (#3 hasn’t even had it’s public rollout yet, but we should be getting close!), which is probably due for publication late in the year. Second is a cover for Allen Steele’s new SF short story collection for Fantastic Books, “Tales of Time and Space”, due out in one month from now. I’ll be posting the cover art shortly.

With almost 25% of the year now gone by, I have little progress to report on my personal  creative goals for the year: becoming productive with modeling (using Hexagon) and writing my first real SF short story. But there’s still time… providing I don’t get too distracted by political clown circus gearing up to roll into Everytown USA this year.

While I haven’t been too productive on DA in the last couple of months, there's plenty of other folks that have been stokin’ the creative firestorm with their own cool stuff. Check it out!!!

The Symbiont World-Key Visual by przemek-duda The Last Human by karichristensen Stratospheric Colony by Phade01 Dilophosaurus by Carlo-Arellano BLACK FISH by CrazyAsian1 Model Pupil by PaulSuttonArt Home by artofjokinen :thumb512122392: Moment of creation by sketchboook Babel 02 by duster132 Pulp Sci-Fiction by serg4d the last ELS, low mars orbit by fmilluminati Shrew by Wildweasel339 Zero Gravity - collaboration by neverdying T V08 by NovA29R Bond by AndyFairhurst The Warriors - a couple of small changes. by Paul-Lloyd Station by FlorentLlamas :thumb517315903: disection with Dr. Tulp by URM R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy by DevonneAmos Wave Skimmer by Balaskas U.E.S.P.A. 2 - Bantam Edition by Johnny-Radar

  • Listening to: Various SOMA-FM feeds
  • Reading: "Up Against It" by M.J. Locke
  • Watching: Person of Interest
OK, I this is my first REAL blog update of 2015. Which means, I’m back on DA with a more regular frequency. There are a few projects in the pipelines that I hope to be able to talk more about in the near future. While I can’t share story details, I got my assignment for the Star Trek Seekers #4 cover, yesterday, and will be diving into that in the coming days.

While my winter has been “graphic-lite” as far as my output, my mind’s been working overtime on playing with SF concepts. A lot of my musing has surrounded the many aspects of human anatomy and psychology that we take for granted and how changing those parameters in an alien species would TRULY result in something alien to interact with. That may sound basic and obvious, but all too oft SF stories treat aliens like, say, giant, sentient spider-beavers who have the affable personality of cabby. The act of establishing basic communication with a species of which we share few to no common perspectives and priorities may be incredibly daunting.

Playing with all these ideas, many of which require a subtlety that extends beyond the power of most visuals to convey, has lit a bit of a writing fire under my lazy butt. So I’m trying to make it a personal objective to complete at least one SF short story this year. Tune in a year from now to see if I have anything to show for that commitment…

In sad news I just got a letter from Masao Okazaki ( www.starfleet-museum.org/ ), who many of you may know as the primary force behind the Starfleet Museum website, as well being the father of cool Star Trek tech creations like the Watchtower class space station and the Archer class scout. Due to some unforeseen health issues he may no longer be participating in Trek fan creations as he’s done for many, MANY years. If so his input will be sorely missed, but his impact on the mythos is already undeniable. I wish him a solid recover from his ailment and hope that he might once again be able to join our creative playground.

I’m not sure what cons I’ll be attending this year. The only certain one at the moment is Boskone, next month in Boston, MA. I’ll be there on Saturday, Feb. 14. I won’t have any art in the show, unfortunately. If you'll be ther, LMK! Maybe we can hook up to say "hi".

I’ll now leave you with an overdue collection of DA’s Recent Greatest Hits by other artists while I close the door on my bunker to prepare for the snowmageddon (™) that’s due to hit us in the northeast within the day.


THE MARTIAN by RHADS Lali at the window .1 by erogenesisCGI Helium-3 Farms by SMPritchard LEO Rendezvous by MacRebisz Soviet Moon by MacRebisz Voyager 3 Pluto flyby by MacRebisz Mononoke by Miles-Johnston Space Cowboys by DevonneAmos SHIPS by Seeker800 Blue Flame by dead-robot Alien 5 Factory by djahal Version B also flies by CUTANGUS Silver sunset by KuldarLeement Born of hope by thefirstfleet Lunar Investigation by MacRebisz :thumb507162145: :thumb509327438: Cooking Noodles by artofjokinen Space Elevator by dustycrosley Nya Furontia by JacobCharlesDietz No Kill I - A Mother's Plea by Ptrope :thumb508459904: Commission - Star Wars B-wing by Shimmering-Sword Pirat base by AKIRAwrong