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Fenner, Arnie

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Editor.

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Working name of American artist and editor Arnold Fenner (?   -    ), who was sometimes credited as Arnold Fenner in early publications. Fenner was long associated with sf Fandom, winning one World Fantasy Award for publishing the Semiprozine Shayol, but he has earned a living by working as an artist or artistic director for a number of companies, including Hallmark Cards, Andrews McMeel Publishing, the Jankus/Tiber advertising agency, and Mark V Ziesing books. For the latter Small Press, he did a number of book covers, mostly unremarkable exercises in portraiture; one of the few that stands out, for Richard T Chizmar's anthology The Earth Strikes Back: New Tales of Ecological Horror (anth 1994), shows a skeleton holding an hourglass, rendered entirely in blue. He has reportedly done artwork for some prominent writers, and album covers for some prominent artists, but these claims are difficult to verify. Fenner has won an additional World Fantasy Award, and two Chesley Awards with his wife, Cathy Burnett Fenner; these were for his work as an art director, not his work as an artist.

Fenner is of far greater significance to the field as the co-editor of art books with his wife, especially the Spectrum series of annual compilation of "the best in contemporary fantastic art". Its first nineteen volumes were all nominated for the Locus Award for Best Art Book, and won the award thirteen times; eight of them also received Hugo nominations as Best Related Book. The significance of these books in presenting excellent examples of sf and Fantasy art to wide audiences is undeniable – many artists cite an appearance in the volume as a high honour – but since all artists interested in being included must pay an entry fee, it is also a series that is partially subsidized by its participants, rather compromising its value as an objective overview of the field's outstanding art. In addition to the Spectrum books, the Fenners have edited valuable compilations of art by Jeffrey Jones, Gahan Wilson, and especially Frank Frazetta, whose artwork is celebrated in five of their books. [GW]

Arnold M Fenner


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