David Cherry's first Artist Guest of Honor spot was at a ChattaCon at The Read House, presided over by Tim Bolgeo, almost 30 years ago. He is honored to appear at LibertyCon this year with his daughter, Kassandra, as Special Guests. This time with Brandy presiding. David has been many things over the years, but the terms artist and illustrator describe him best. Career-wise, that is where his heart is.
David started out in life as an attorney in Oklahoma. Seven years later he had had enough of arguing every day with people who were paid to disagree with him. So, he taught himself how to paint and began a career as an illustrator, specializing in fantasy and science fiction. For the next 18 years he did book covers, magazine covers, book interiors, calendars, game cards [Magic: The Gathering, Dune, Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, etc.], collectible plate designs, and established himself as one of the top artists in his field. He was AGOH at several cons each year, won just about every major award available to sf illustrators, served twice as President of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, and was honored to present a slideshow of his work to The Fellows of The Smithsonian. The one award that eluded him was the Hugo for Best Professional Artist. He was closing in on it (largely due to the support of fans and friends in Chattanooga and Atlanta) when life took another turn and he ended up leaving freelance illustration to become Senior Concept Artist and, later, Marketing Artist for Ensemble Studios, a game developer in Dallas, Texas. For the next 9 years, he worked in the game industry, helping to ship titles such as Age of Mythology, Age of Empires III, and Halo Wars. He became proficient at digital art, both 2D and 3D. Then, in 2009, when Ensemble closed its doors, David became Professor Cherry at The Guildhall at SMU, a graduate school for people who want to work in the game development industry. There, he became head of the Art Department, rewrote the Art curriculum from top to bottom, and was head of the Masters Degree program for all artists.
So. He has been in Texas, and he has been busy. But all that time, he wanted two things: to get back to Oklahoma and to get back to freelance illustration. In 2013 he moved to Norman, Oklahoma, bought a nice house with a koi pond, and set about redesigning his life to get back into freelance art. So. Life has taken him full circle. But this time things are a bit different. Now he has a partner: his daughter, Kassandra Leigh Cherry. She is attending The University of Oklahoma in Norman, majoring in Italian and Japanese. But her real goal in life is to become an artist like her Dad and a writer like her Aunt Carolyn (renowned author, C.J. Cherryh). Just like her father, so many years ago, her first appearance as a guest is in Chattanooga. She is still a student, still has much to learn. But we know she has a great career ahead of her. Years from now she will look back on this convention as the start of it all. That is how these things work.
David and Kassandra are nice people. Please welcome them and get to know them.