Best Professional Artist is quite tough for me to write about. Firstly it is easier to judge a single work than a whole year of someone’s creativity. Secondly I am not well versed in interpreting visual arts. So instead of trying to interpret the works I am rather concentrating on my “do I like it?” feeling.
The order in which I covered the nominees is not the one I used on the ballot.
In the commentary below I am writing only about pictures that artists shared in the Hugo Voters pack.
Best Professional Artist
Works of Alyssa Winans are not of equal value to me. I enjoyed illustration for Neuro-Dancer by Tom Sweterlitsch and cover for A Conjuring of Assassins by Cate Glass. The other two illustrations for works of Nghi Vo (including Hugo nominated – The Empress of Salt and Fortune) were a bit too empty. On the other hand the empty space was left for the titles and as covers they present very good.
Pictures by Galen Dara are amazing in a way. They are created in styles that are not appealing to me yet I find them good. Each and every one of them have unique atmosphere and evolve feelings. Creator did a great job and I fully appreciate it. Somehow in contrary I was not able to enjoy pictures by John Picacio. They are created in a style that I like but somehow they do not evoke emotions in me. I appreciate ideas and attention to details but for some reason I don’t enjoy them as much as I should.
Maurizio Manzieri’s works show a good and very equal level. They may not be the best this year but they definitely are good. I especially like the cover for Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard. The mixture of the old and the new is mesmerizing.
Illustrations by Rovina Cai are marvellous. Although some of them look a bit more like sketches than finished works they are great. Again – they are not drawn in a style that I particularly like but they catch the eye and speak to me. Absolutely fantastic works.
Tommy Arnold’s pictures are technically good but most of them do not evoke strong emotions in me. The only one that I enjoyed is the cover piece for Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. The rest are not as fascinating.