March 22, 2011
It has been a year since our beloved Sandy "Chan" Shelton left us. Much has been written and said about the enormous impact she had on fandom for so many years - through her art undoubtedly, and for many of us lucky ones, through having known her and received the blessing of her friendship.
Many of us have gone through the five stages of grief, collectively and individually. We have made it past our denial phase and the incredible anger which followed. We have sadly exited bargaining and climbed out of depression. How many of us have graduated to acceptance? That is a continuing process for a number of us. Yet today, regardless of how much we have processed our grief, gratitude for having had her in our lives is paramount in our hearts.
We are grateful for the five year old who resided happily within Chan, who loved to play and draw and laugh with friends and who clasped the fantasy of "Beauty and the Beast" close to her heart, turning a Dream into beautiful reality with her talented hands.
We are grateful for the friend who was always near with a word of encouragement, with a smile at our foibles, with a hand to help, with a can-do spirit that made us all believe we could, too. Whether moderating BBTV, as a Wintercandlemaker, or on a convention team, her presence, her insights, her guidance and her talents were inspirations.
We are grateful for her creativity and vision, which translated into beauty and celebration, from her drawings to her convention centerpieces to her happily messy project panels to her insistence that we all have something within us which is worth sharing.
We are grateful for her generosity, for using her own success to champion and encourage others’ success. With forums such as DeviantArt, she reminded others that talent must be nurtured, both within ourselves and in others. She had mentors when she began to draw, and she never forgot how valuable that feeling of support was to her growth as an artist. One of her continuing gifts to fandom was her way of "paying it forward," mentoring and highlighting the work of other artists, and encouraging all of us to create and to show our appreciation to others for their creations.
The anniversary of Chan’s death might be a sober and sad occasion. Instead, we have decided to celebrate her spirit and talent. Through this retrospective of Chan’s artwork in fanzines and newsletters, we all can travel the road with Chan, watching as she developed her inimitable style, revisiting some of the wonderful work she left us to remember her by.
Enjoy spending this time with Chan, and send a little whisper of love to the tunnels Below where our favorite five year old is even now holding hands with Vincent and Catherine, asking them to swing her higher…higher….
One more gift from Chan
It was a privilege for many of us to be in the fandom at the same time as Chan, and enjoy her art while it was being conceived, created, and freely given. But many fans joined the fandom, and many others will, who can't have such privilege. As soon as the fandom started to migrate online, Chan was there, leading the troops, but before the Internet, she had poured her wonderful talents into many, many paper zines, one of the common ways to share the B&B passion back in the day. In this Internet era, the zines are not as popular as once they were. It would be a pity if that part of Chan's artwork, so beautiful and meaningful, were unknown to the fans who came after. So, with the permission of her family, all of her art published in B&B zines has been scanned and posted here.
It was a project to celebrate Chan, but instead it became one more gift from her to the fandom. In fact, while working at the project, something beautiful became apparent, and it's there for all to see and experience: the evident, touching, thrilling development of her talent. You can see the first drawings, tentative, a bit simple, a bit rigid, which in time slowly improve and become the ripe, magical art we admire in her later works.
One more gift from her: an encouragement for those who want to follow their hearts. She was not born "Chan", the phenomenal artist. Her artistic gift was awakened by the show and grew thanks to love, passion, and committment. Well, it's a Beauty and the Beast story, isn't it?
Thank you and permissions
Thank you JoAnn Baca, thank you Lawrence Baca, thank you Linda Wong. They are those who leafed through thousands of zine pages, carefully scanned the images and sorted out the files for this gallery.
If you are aware of any other zines containing Chan's art not included in these pages, please let us know: Chan (at) BatBland.com
The permission to post Sandy Chandler Shelton's art was given to BatBland by her family. No work may be taken from the site and re-posted without permission. For more information contact: ChanProxy (at) yahoogroups.com.