The Art Order - Ghost From My Past - A Jeff Easley Homage

What do you do when you have a ghost from your past that you just can’t shake. You honor it…

There was a time in my career when I had the honor of working with some of the best known, and most talented artists in the fantasy industry. It was a special time of my life. It was a time that I will always remember with great fondness. I got to go through orientation with some of the TSR artists that I had admired for much of my adult life, and later I got to work with them as a team mate. There was this special room that was created when the folks from TSR showed up on the doorstep of Wizards of the Coast. It was lovingly called “Siberia”.  Some of my favorite memories are from the times I spent hanging out in Siberia, and learning what it took to be a true artist. I had great mentors…Brom, Todd Lockwood, Fred Fields, Tony Szczudlo, rk Post, & Jeff Easley (though not illustrators, I have to give a shout out to cartographers Rob Lazzaretti, and Dennis Kauth as well). These guys influenced me in ways I’m still learning about. They gave me knowledge that guides me to this day. One of the things they really gave me though, was a joy and delight for this industry that I’ll never be able to repay.

One of my responsibilities at Wizards was to help artists negotiate the red tape and legal hurdles that came from dealing with a corporate entity. I took that job very seriously. It was a charge that I held very dear. Helping the artists find ways to work within the contractual agreements, and yet, find ways to promote themselves and profit from the creative expertise that they lent to Wizards was probably my favorite task. Every time I got to see an “art of…” book roll off the presses, I had a great amount of satisfaction in the position I held. Up until the day I left Wizards, I had the distinction of saying that I had been able to help every artist work through the issues and get their book created….with one exception.

I couldn’t make it work for Jeff Easley.

Jeff is one of the kindest and gentlest souls that I know. He has poured his soul into D&D since 1982. The bulk of his professional work was created for D&D, and that was his downfall when we were trying to work out his book deal. Wizards has a corporate policy about art books – only s certain percentage of Wizards work can make up the book. I’m not hear to debate the policy. It is what it is. That’s the rules of the game. We tried all kinds of angles to make the deal work, but we were always stymied by the fact that nearly all of his work was from his time at TSR & Wizards.

I left Wizards knowing that I had failed Jeff in this regard. It is something that will always be there for me.

While I no power to affect change around that any longer. I did realize that I have the power to do one thing, and that is to honor Jeff in the only way I can…here, on ArtOrder.

I would like to ask each of you to take a moment and visit Jeff’s website. Check out the wonderful work he has done through the years. Take a moment to recognize the impact he had on the SFF industry through the years. Say a quiet “thank you” to a man that has helped create a industry that we have the pleasure to call our home.

…and then when you are done. Please join me in the one thing I can do for my friend…honor him and his work.

This next ArtOrder Challenge is dedicated to Jeff.

I would ask each of you to dedicate a few hours of your time, for a man that dedicated years of his life to a genre that we all have a passion for, and create an image that pays homage to Jeff and his work.

Now Jeff has no idea I’m up to this, and in fact, I’m pretty sure he would ask me not to do it. He was never one for the spotlight. I realized that I am unable to help him get his book created, but what I can do is show him how much his art has meant to me, and how it affected my life…and maybe I can convince a few folks to join in and help honor this man that has given us so much – and asked for so little in return.

What do you say? Are you in?

The rules for this challenge will be simple. Create a piece that pays homage to the man and his work. Any subject matter, any medium, any format.

I had several requests for a longer deadline, and my wife hit me with a great thought. If I truly want to honor Jeff, then allow the artists the time to really honor him…so I’m moving the deadline out. The new deadline is February 9th, 2014 at noon (mountain time zone). I will do a big reveal of all the submissions on Feb 14th, Jeff’s 60th birthday!!

You can enter as many times as you like.
There will be no prizes. No juries. No judging. Just a deep and abiding satisfaction for giving back to someone that gave to us.
Just submit a jpg that is under 10mb in size on the submission page

It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Please spread the word…and the love.

Go Forth. Create!

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