Mark Cline – Artist Guest of Honor

Artist GOH: Mark ClineMark Cline is a Virginia-based actor, cartoonist, impresario, magician and master of fiberglass sculpture. Inspired by monster and science fiction films, he produces foam and fiberglass figures and fantasy characters for attractions and cities. 

Cline started his career as a showman when he was a child. His abilities were not recognized by the academic structure and so he was placed in a “special” class—not for his creative abilities, but as a “slow learner”. School was a challenge for a clearly ADHD child in the late sixties and throughout the seventies but the experience forced Cline to traverse other avenues for the sheer sake of his survival. If Cline was having a hard time being accepted for who he was, he learned to become “someone else”. Realizing that people were drawn to TV characters for entertainment, Cline emulated the antics and expressions of the characters on popular sitcoms of the day, Cline began getting attention by impersonating Gomer Pyle, Barney Fife, characters from Green Acres and the like; and he got good at them and that got noticed. He became the class clown which consequently taught him the art of misdirection. Cline had made himself into an entertainer but entertainers need props and props were expensive so he learned to make them out of whatever he could get his hands on.

Cline’s “handicap” opened doors for his many artistic endeavors over the decades and he is now recognized as one of the worlds best sculptors of fiberglass figures. Cline is the builder of many attractions including Professor Cline’s Time Machine, Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum, Foamhenge, the Lexington Ghost Tour, Dinosaur Kingdom, and Dinosaur Kingdom II. Over the years he has built hundreds of dinosaur statues, including thirty for his own Dinosaur Kingdom and nineteen for Dinosaur Land in White Post, VA, the park that inspired him to sculpt. Cline’s work appears in attractions across Virginia, including a concentration of works in and around Natural Bridge, where he works out of Enchanted Castle Studios. His studio appears in the book Weird Virginia and the Roadside America books and website.

He often displays creations on April Fools’ Day. Foamhenge was unveiled on April Fools’ Day 2004.

Cline is frequently referred to as the “Blue Ridge Barnum” and premiered a record-breaking show in 2012 at the Taubman Museum of Art. An independent film about Cline, Barnum of the Blue Ridge, is currently under production.

In his own words, “I couldn’t swear that I’m not nuts, naive—yes. Looking back, I have to wonder what was going on in the head of a 19-year-old who thought he could just go and open a monster museum and make a living at it. I had no training, no business sense, no connections, and no money. But I did have enthusiasm and lots of it. The ‘talent’ was raw but the sincerity was—and still is—genuine.”

Mark Cline and Snake

 

 

Larry Dixon

LarryDixon1Larry Dixon is a respected, funny, friendly, and completely approachable guy with a diverse and adventurous history.

Son of a Delta Force career commando and an Oklahoman farmgirl, Larry grew up in many American and European settings, usually haunting the local art museums and hobby stores. At age nine he saved up his babysitting money and bought his first typewriter, intent upon writing and illustrating his own novels. Northern Italy is where his passions for painting, sculpting and storytelling took root, as well as his interests in state-level diplomacy, early computers and rocketry. In junior high school, Larry spent his weekends learning Chainmail and D&D from some of the original mimeographed and handwritten manuscripts of the games. He has been a roleplaying games buff since the 1970s, and has illustrated or helped design many RPGs.

Educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts during high school, and then at the Savannah College of Art and Design, his story work became as popular as his artwork. He has been an uncredited co-plotter or co-writer for many popular properties, bringing jovial and energetic approaches to collaborative work. Many cover-credited novels have followed, too, including the ever-popular Gryphon series, the Winds, Storms, SERRAted Edge, and Owl books with the mighty Mercedes (Misty) Lackey. Born to Run has been hailed as a “romp with a conscience,” and The Black Gryphon has been critically referred to as “A modern classic,” and is in its nineteenth printing.

 As a birds-of-prey rehabilitation specialist, he and his wife Misty have gotten hawks, owls, falcons, herons, and corbies back into the wild from their home-based facilities in Oklahoma. Additionally, Larry is an accomplished race car driver, world traveler, aviculturist, model maker, and internet veteran.

Larry loves standup comedy; genre movies; subcultures; aikido; storms; design; SF TV; odd cars (he owns many, and a few even run); his hawks, cockatoos and owls; history; comic books; architecture; costume; road trips; woodworking; studio scale and hobby scale modelmaking; International Rally and American LeMans Series racing; dirty jokes; club/trance/electronica, synth, experimental, and ambient music; and just plain making people feel good about themselves.

Larry is the “Most Read Writer” on the answer site Quora in the topics of Comedians, Stand-up Comedy, Birds, Fiction, Sports Cars, Villains, Concept Art, Ford Mustang, Automotive Industry, Buying Cars, Ferrari Motors, and Art.

He has been a cover artist for Baen (the Secret World Chronicle series, the SERRAted Edge series, the Doubled Edge Series, and several stand-alone works) and Tor, and was tapped to create the end papers, frontispiece, and chapter headings for Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter series for Disney Hyperion (ask him about “dial it back, Dixon”).

His ongoing, ever-changing decades-long romance with Mercedes Lackey is legendary. Larry feels equally comfortable around generals, rock stars, fans, firefighters, victims, cops, media and movie makers because, hey, he’s an Okie. Definitely chat with him or ask questions at panels about approaches to your work—nothing makes him happier than helping someone with their avocations, and bringing more beauty into the world.