Many have tried to define “art”…
“Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.” – David Hockney
“We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso
“Art for the SK10 program better be ready by October 10th!” – Lauren Lane
As usual, Lauren is closest to the mark. Skepticon has had an abundance of artists involved since its beginning, and artwork has played an important role in each Skepticon. So naturally Art is one of the twelve major divisions of Skepticon, Inc. From the job description:
The Art role is responsible for the production and maintenance of all assets of Skepticon that are primarily art-related, and for arranging the licensing of, or otherwise ensure the copyright clearance for all art used by Skepticon. … Each year will have its own theme, and the Art role will be responsible for ensuring a consistent look of all art produced. … They will also arrange for safe storage of physical and digital art assets.
You’ll note the copyright clearance part of the job. Yeah, we got bit by that one a couple years ago. The copyright for one of the headshots we used for a speaker turned out not to be held by that speaker. We were contacted by a company claiming to hold the copyright, and demanding over $700. We replaced the picture with one owned by the speaker, told them that we were an impoverished nonprofit, and asked for proof of copyright ownership. (Skeptics!) They countered with $100, but never produced any evidence of ownership, and we have not heard from them since.
The Art role has one of the most complex and demanding set of deadlines, and needs to work closely with all other Skepticon divisions to ensure that all projects are completed on time, and at the best rates.
The art assets of Skepticon include the themed graphics for the website and event signage, permanent signs meant to be used every year at the conference, the program, and the badges handed out to every attendee. Art needs to find the vendors with the best terms, and ensure that everything goes smoothly with production of printed materials.
Last year and this, we have been fortunate to have the help of the awesome team at Bear and Otter for most of our graphic design work.
So, what is Art? Art is a whole lot of work.