Interest in the art category was down this year compared to the year before. Or perhaps there were just fewer works which happened to catch the eyes of BSFA members.
This year, a total of 24 BSFA members nominated a total of 44 works of art for the art category of the BSFA awards. That means that it was the second-least nominated-in category, although non-fiction trailed well behind it with both sets of numbers. Only 4% of the BSFA’s total members nominated in this category.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a consistent pattern. Last year, about as many entries were nominated for this category as for the art entry, although a larger number of nominators – 30 – nominated the same number of works, 44. Still, that makes it far more competitive than two years ago, when nominators agreed on only 22 works to nominate.
It strikes me every year how dominated this category is by cover art. There’s nothing wrong with that! But it is the common way by which imagery reaches the households of voting Eastercon and BSFA members, arriving on the cover of an anthology, a magazine, or a novel. Perhaps that’s even what tipped the balance to buying it, judging a book by a quite magnificent cover. There is plenty else out there though, from the artwork for board and card games to artists’ published collections to the work shown in the art shows at conventions such as Eastercon itself or Novacon.
In any event, this too is a category about which prospective BSFA award voters might like to be more mindful for potential nominees as they go through the coming year.
Sooner than next year’s ballot is this year’s vote however: as a reminder, here are the shortlists for the four BSFA awards. Ballots were sent out with the most recent BSFA mailing, and will be available at the forthcoming Eastercon, Illustrious, where the votes will be tallied and the awards presented.