Pros and Cons

The mysterious mind of sci-fi fantasy artist John Picacio is a colorful and fantastical place, if not a little bit unusual. The magnificent and madcap landscape populated by devilish sword-wielding demons, fantastical techno-organic creatures, and rocket-propelled primates is the reason that he’s repeatedly consulted to create vibrant illustrations for novels and magazines.

The distinguished 41-year-old artist is opening up his marvelous mind for visitors when he discusses his unusual oeuvre in detail as a “guest of honor” at LepreCon 37 this weekend. He’ll be joined by other renowned artists and authors from the mediums of sci-fi and fantasy presenting at the annual event at the Mission Palms, 60 East Fifth Street in Tempe.

Unlike other local geekfests, LepreCon has more of a bookworm bent, focusing on the literary and artsy side of the genre. As such, Hugo Award-winners including Elizabeth Bear (author of bestselling page-turners like Shoggoths in Bloom and Tideline) and Darrell K. Sweet (whose potent illustrations have graced the tomes of Piers Anthony) are celebrated in style.

The three-day event, which blasts off on Friday, May 6, will also feature art shows, filk circles, body-painting demos, vendor and exhibitor rooms, and plenty of role-playing game sessions.

Fri., May 6, 1 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sat., May 7, 10-1 a.m.; Sun., May 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2011
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.