2012 Hugos: Best Fan Artist

I don't think I have ever voted in this category before, but after last year's debacle when I failed to vote for Randall Munroe of xkcd, and he missed winning the award by a single vote, I have decided to educate myself thanks to the Hugo Voters Package. There are five artists in this category (none of them Randall Munroe, for some reason) and I have heard of only one, so I am judging the others purely on the basis of the four pieces submitted for the Package; if they have done better (or worse) work over the last year I'm not aware of it.

Edited to add: I now realise that Randall Munroe is in fact a nominee but that none of his work has been included in the Hugo Voter Package. He is getting my top vote anyway, and I have revised the others down a place.

Without very much hesitation, I rank them as follows:

6) Steve Stiles. Three of the pieces submitted are weak jokes; the fourth is more interesting, a bloke looking out of the frame with a screaming face reflected in his sunglasses. But not interesting enough to shift him from the bottom spot on my ballot.
5) Brad Foster. This was the one artist whose work I did already know, in that he provides cover cartoons for Ansible. Nothing seriously wrong with any of the pieces but they are pretty basic. The best is the logo for last year's CONDFW, excerpted here.
4) I hesitated a bit about Taral Wayne, because the first two pieces are a gnome joke and a jack o'lantern leering at a furry creature of some kind. But the other two are both rather good, a planetscape crowded with fannish references and a lovely long-focus landscape, nicely realised, with a trademark furry explorer. I like both better than I like any of the Foster or Stiles pieces, so Wayne goes above them.
3) We are in a slight chalk and cheese situation with Spring Schoenhuth, whose medium is metalwork rather than graphic art. The jewellery photographs we have been given to judge her work on are all beautiful pieces which one would like to own; there's a sense of consistent attention to detail. It may be slightly quirky of me, but I put her third.
2) That brings us to Maurine Starkey, three of whose four pieces impressed me as having a story to tell; I was underwhelmed by her Close Encounters fanzine cover, but her Sherlock Holmes homage, her skeleton resting in flowers, and especially the weird children on the cover of Askance #24 would all make me want to pick up whatever they adorned and also look for more from that artist.
1) Randall Munroe. A consistent cause of delight and entertainment, and occasionally education and enlightenment.

So, the Hugo Voter Package has successfully educated me about the Best Fan Artist category, though slightyl misled me by the absence of one of the nominees' work. More to come.

See also: Best Novel, Best Short Story, Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)