Wednesday, 24 November 2010

IlluXCon 2010 - A Review, or, I'm Back.

At My Stand.

Just over a week has passed since I returned from IlluXCon, and whilst the fatigue of the travel and socialising has faded, I still feel the absorption of the experience is only just beginning. In this review I am not going to try and list all the goings on, but rather give a narrow perspective based on my own approach to attending a show.


All credit should be given to Pat and Jeannie Wilshire for organising  a unique convention. It was a thrilling experience to see so many fantasy artists gathered in such great number, and says something about the desire amongst us to participate in our community. A number of other shows provide artist's alleys, or art shows, but none other caters for us in such a direct and focused way. So often we work alone in our studios, and that can easily become somewhat isolating, so it's great to engage in such a direct way with other artists and their work.

A Panoramic View.

Prior to deciding whether or not to attend a show I attempt to assess it through three criteria:
Sales: Is the trip going to be profitable, or would I make more money staying at home?
Business: Am I going to reinforce and/or expand my existing client base?
Community: This is more nebulous, and is about connecting with my fellow artists, getting out of that aforementioned 'studio bubble', but also about being inspired, and learning from my peers' work.

The Centre Was A Great Space.

If I feel I can successfully tick two out of the three categories then I judge the show to be worthwhile. For this trip I already knew that a transatlantic journey with it's correpsonding overheads was a poor starting point to plan for this as a 'Sales' trip. However I was right to feel optimistic about the other criteria.

I can have had email correspondance with an art director for a number of years, and yet find that relationship improved immeasurably with a half hour chat. This show was no exception as I caught up with a number of clients I work for, oh, and it was very gratifying to be offered work from a new client I was wanting to meet even as I was still setting up my stand.

I had Some Interesting Neighbours:
Jordu Schell's Awesome Masks.

However the show scored biggest in my last category. Not only did I catch up with  a lot of established friends, but also made some good new ones. There already exists a commonality between all the artists through the shared work we do, and it always feels very easy to build upon this. I was also impressed by the number of artists attending the show who weren't even exhibiting (primarily because of their digital backgrounds, in what is oestensibly a traditional art show), this goes back to what I said at the start of the blog.

On Both Sides:
Tom Taggart's Mantrap.

I also couldn't fail to be massively inspired, and motivated by the overwhelming quality, and diversity of the work on display. I was also gratified by the positive feedback I received on my own work; it is  very informative to observe what aspects other artist's pick up on in one's work. In particular I was happy at the number of people who commented on my colour use, an area I hadn't necessarily thought of as one of my strongest qualities.

I had a very stimulating and engaging time at the show. I want to thank everyone who stopped by and said hi. I welcomed the fact that I had a proper opportunity to talk with those who did, but also to visit other artists at their stands and discuss their work and developments. I am already looking forward to next year!

Lastly I wanted to say thanks to Christopher Burdett for his help at the show, oh, and I lifted the first photo in this blog from his own , which give a much more thorough overview of the show, and which I recommend reading.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you went. I enjoyed our conversation about private commissions.

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  2. I'm so glad I finally got to meet you, and am not surprised that you got more work. ;)

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  3. Joe - I haven't looked at a Roman legionairre's tunic the same way since ;)

    Chelsea - Good to meet you too :)

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