Judging artwork is really subjective, as every single person has different tastes. In addition, while five of the finalists work in two-dimensions, Spring Schoenhuth makes jewelry. It's difficult to judge jewelry without being able to hold it or at least look at it from multiple views. There may not be a lot of words in this post, but there was a lot of time taken for me to make my final decisions and lock them down...
- Ninni Aalto - Not my cuppa. I don't have any problem with the art, it just isn't something I enjoy looking at. Nothing in the packet was what I would consider great - although the first item "Fictional Motivation" was nicely written. In short, not my favorite artist of the bunch.
- Elizabeth Leggett - This is more the style of artwork I enjoy - the realism combined with fantastical elements. But the items in the packet didn't make me want to put her first on my ballot. In particular, the woman in "Hotspur" looks like she's leaning on nothing, and the rocketship in "Learner's Permit" is just a little too jarring and simplistic compared to the whales. The other pieces were nicely done and told stories, so I'm not sure if I'm just being too harsh.
- Vesa Lehtimäki - Photography of unreal subjects is quite an awesome accomplishment, and this artist combines a number of my joys - Star Wars and LEGO. The pieces are fun, simple and tell stories. Putting Star Wars vehicles into real landscapes is, alone, a clever and interesting way of looking at the world. Add in the fun LEGO theme pieces, and this is sitting at the top of my ballot as I get halfway through the finalists.
- Likhain (M. Sereno) - Beautiful, classical... artwork that reminds me of Japanese screens. It's very lovely. It's also not my cuppa. Like Aalto's work, I appreciate the skill and talent that go into these pieces, but they don't connect with me.
- Spring Schoenhuth - A jewelry artist with a style I enjoy, but it's so very difficult to judge without seeing it in person. I wish a couple of the photos of the art were of them being worn, since it would lend scale as well as a sense of how the art looks in its natural habitat. Schoenhuth's work does speak to my fannish side - and I like it a lot even though I don't wear jewelry. At the moment she gets the second spot on my ballot.
- Steve Stiles - Stiles is extremely cartoony and humourous compared to the others, although Aalto also has some of that. It again makes it difficult to put his work into a line with the others, because there is really no comparison. I like Stiles work a little, but he's nowhere near knocking Lehtimäki off the top spot or taking Schoenhuth's second place away. I guess he gets the third spot.