Spectrum Fantastic Art's Cathy & Arnie Fenner have posted an appeal to
voters to be more considered in their nominations for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. They point out that "in the 52 years an award has been presented for 'Best Artist', only 15 individuals have won the rockets." While not wanting to diminish the accomplishment of any of those 15 winners, I support their call that more attention be paid to those artists who have actually produced exemplary work in the Hugo year in question.
The Fenners call out a prior "suggestion" that nominations include an example of art which appeared in the relevant calendar year. This is NOT a requirement of the Hugo nomination process, merely an attempt to induce the voter to familiarize him/herself with actual 2007 cover illustration work before casting his or her ballot.
Recently, I've heard grumbles that there are no convenient one-stop spots to review the art of the past year. Not only do all the responsible publishers list illustrator credits on the jackets of their hardcovers, but Mark R Kelly maintains a marvelous 2007 Cover Art Gallery at Locus Online, which only takes a moment to peruse (and is fun to do!). In addition, many artists who maintain online galleries and blogs, provide that info in quick-glance form. (Here, for example, is a link to John Picacio's blog, the right-hand margin of which contains thumbnails of his complete 2007 output.) With the ease of the internet, there really is no justification for what amounts to Hugo voters belittling their own award by not recognizing relevant work in the Best Professional Artist category.
Meanwhile, here is a list of all 2007 Pyr books with artwork that debuted in that calendar year, with their respective cover artists - complete with links to the respective book covers and the artists' personal websites:
January - Jack Dann's The Man Who Melted - Nick Stathopoulos
February - Lou Anders' Fast Forward 1 - John Picacio
March - Adam Roberts' Gradisil - Stephan Martiniere
Justina Robson's Keeping It Real - Larry Rostant
April - Joel Shepherd's Breakaway - Stephan Martiniere
May - Ian McDonald's Brasyl - Stephan Martiniere
June - Sean Williams' The Hanging Mountains - Greg Bridges
July - Alexis Glynn Latner's Hurricane Moon - Brian W Dow
August - Mike Resnick's Ivory - Bob Eggleton
September - Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself - Laura Brett
October - Justina Robson's Selling Out - Larry Rostant
Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective - John Picacio
November - Joel Shepherd's Killswitch - Stephan Martiniere
December - Mike Resnick's Starship: Mercenary - John Picacio