FaerieCon is arguably my favorite event that Diabolical Whimsy attends. I have always felt at home at there—felt accepted for the weirdo I am, no apologies needed. It is hard to pin point what I enjoy most about the event. Is it the writers, musicians, artists, and spiritual people who share their work and passions each year? Or the creativity of the attendees with their gorgeously constructed costumes? Or perhaps it is the shenanigans that my cousins and I always seem to get into during the masquerades? Whatever it is, I always leave the Realm feeling refreshed and artistically invigorated.
This year’s FaerieCon did not disappoint: It was filled with magic, friends and family, some jamming music, fantastic costumes, and the best part—some actual art making!
About a month before the event, I planned a Facebook event to see if I could find some people interested in volunteering to model for me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect with anyone interested in it, but the online response far surpassed what I anticipated. By the end of the con, I had fit in a total of 5 shoots with new models! I am super excited to start working on them. Here are a few sneak peaks:
In addition to taking photos, I also sold some! That being said, attendance this year seemed low. Apparently, another big convention was happening in Baltimore the same weekend this year. The event coordinators announced that next year the event will be moving into the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. I hope this will be a good move for the event. It should generate more shoppers with increased foot traffic, plus transit to the airport. I immediately signed up for next year, as I am optimistic about these changes. I think the change in venue will also add a new spark to the event. I look forward to returning next November.
Although I did not spend much time planning a costume this year, I did manage to accidentally make this sparkly cape! I purchased the base garment from a consignment shop, with the intention of adding to it so that I could wear it (it was originally a size 6). It sat in my costume closet for several years before I pulled it out this fall and decided I was finally going to do something to it. I began by ripping out the stitches and then I pinned it in a few places and slipped it over my head to figure out how exactly to alter it. Upon glancing in the mirror, I stopped and thought, never mind altering it into a dress that fits me—I’m just going to wear this as a cape! Sometimes the best things happen by accident.
The masquerades are often a lot of fun for us. We usually don’t listen to much of the music, but instead gallivant around, faerie watching and doing photoshoots in nooks and crannies of the hotel. This Good Faeries Ball, we actually ended up staying for the entire performance of Abney Park. They were amazing! After the concert, we spent a lot of time taking photos. We even took some of Bessy and the Hulkster! The Bad Faeries Ball went just as well, although we spend the majority of the time in the Garden Room taking photos. This time we had an audience—Timothy Lantz and friend (forgive me, I forget her name!) showed up and claimed we were more entertaining than the band. >.<
During the day, when I got a chance to walk around and talk to vendors, I was lucky enough to meet (and get a hug from) Iris Compiet! I supported her kickstarter project, Faeries of the Faultlines. Getting to see her work in person was a real treat. I only wish I could have made it to one of her panels, but the timing didn’t work out. I also chatted with several other artists, many of whom used mixed media which I found fascinating.
Coming home and going back to my day job was especially difficult this year. Everything seemed so mundane after the glittery world of FaerieCon. However, as a few weeks have passed I am finally readjusting to the muggle world again.
My next (and ongoing) challenge is to keep some of the magic of FaerieCon alive by setting aside time for my art. I recently got a promotion at my day job, and the holiday season is in full swing. I always find working on art hard during this time of year as much of my time is spent with family. However, this year I am striving to set aside time each day and week to create and promote my work. Having some new images to work on should make that easier. Plus I still have an unopened box of new art papers to use in my mixed media work!
Scare-a-Con was Scary Fun
One of the greatest things that happened at the con was how all of my neighboring vendors banded together to spread the word about Artist Alley. The way this con was set up, there was the main vending hall and then in the two hallways on either side, there were separate vendors (one side was a "VHS fest" with vendors selling movies and collectibles, and the other side was Artist Alley). Since we were separate from the other vendors, many con-goers didn't even know there WAS an Artist Alley. I actually talked to a Staff member of the convention on Sunday who admitted he didn't know the Artist Alley was there either! However, instead of just complaining about the situation, a group of AA vendors decided to do something about it.
Plus, I did sell a preorder of The Ringleader! Speaking of which--you can preorder this art book through my website for $10 off retail price now til October 9!
After Scare-a-Con, I am even more excited for FaerieCon! I can't believe it is still 2 months away-I don't know if I can wait that long!
Ed made this great zombie with a speech bubble sign to try to direct more traffic our way. Plus, Ed moved his zombie cardboard cutout to the front of the vending hall. This was a great gimmick that got a lot of people's attention--he designed it so you could put your head through and take a picture as if the zombie had decapitated you! One of the vendors toward the end of the hallway went out and stood by the cutout to direct everyone taking pictures with it to Artist Alley. Remarkably, all that effort really did help increase traffic, at least on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the overall attendance was just kind of low this year. Jessica told me they had been vendors the year before and had at least broke even, but this year they didn't even do that. It being my first year there, I was just pleased with how many people did stop by to look through my work.
After doing a few other sci-fi/fantasy conventions over last summer, I became rather frustrated about the convention scene. While I always met some people who were truly interested in my work, I felt like a lot of the con-goers were only interested in fan art. At FaerieCon, there is significantly more original artwork. Plus, the attendees (while I’m sure they also would love a variety of fan art, cause who doesn’t?) always seemed to be looking for original artwork, so I feel like my work has a better chance of making an impression.
I am also really pumped because I found out that I may be able to enter work into the art show at Dragon*Con without actually having to make the trip down there. While I really want to attend Dragon*Con, financially I can’t do it this year. However, I’m excited about the prospect of sharing my artwork at that venue. I am also making plans to attend RocCon again as well as EerieCon this year.
In addition to my convention sign-ups and research, I have been spending the beginning of this new year trying to really kick up my work on my circus book. My goal is to have printed copies ready to sell at FaerieCon. Which means I need to finish editing and get the design finished. I also need to settle on a title…I think I’ve narrowed my choices down, but I’m still not positive which one I will go with.
I also have officially started shooting for a new series! I took some self-portraits last weekend and then met with a new model, Heather, yesterday. Both shoots went very well and I am excited to start the editing process. I was gonna post one of my favorites from the shoot, but I can't seem to find the cord to connect my camera, nor my card reader/USB drive...I think that means it's time to clean my studio! Wish me happy cleaning!
There were quite a few highlights of this weekend. One was meeting these fantastic people cosplaying as Jayne, Kaylee, and Simon from Firefly. They were all awesome and their costumes were spot on! The girl dressed as Kaylee (who introduced herself, but unfortunately I do not remember her name L) actually made her costume. She made a fantastic Kaylee! Her friend dressed as Simon was also “in character” as he was rather shy and serious. It took them forever to get “Simon” over to my table so I could take a picture of them together along with one of my neighboring vendors (S. A. McKay, author of Queens) who was dressed as Mal. Seeing them in the sea of other cosplayers made my day.
I also got to meet Keith R. A. DeCandido, the Author Guest of Honor of the convention. He has not only written a series of his own (The Dragon Precinct series) but has also done writing for several franchises, such as Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Farscape. It was kind of funny because at first I didn’t know who he was. Every time he walked past my table he would grin at me and wave. Then, there were a few times when I walked past his table and he would try to talk to me, but I was always on a mission for something and couldn’t stop. At one point, he stopped at my table, looked through my art and chatted a little bit. It was then that I noticed his badge and felt kind of bad that I hadn’t made more of an effort to speak to him earlier. Shortly after, I made a point to go bother him at his table. We had some good conversations about writing, fantasy, and sci-fi. My favorite conversation was probably when we argued about Dollhouse, the Joss Whedon show. He tried (in vain) to convince me that Dollhouse wasn’t that good. I give him props for effort though :D. I was very flattered when he ended up purchasing one of my prints.
Although I did meet a lot of great people and made some good connections, by Sunday, I will admit I was a little bummed that I hadn’t sold anything. There were lots of people who really liked the work and many took my card saying they might order online…but it was still discouraging.
Right after that, another vendor came over and asked for the same print that Jasmine had purchased. I did not have the 8.5 x 11 size, but she was happy to buy the 13 x 19 print. I found it very interesting that I sold more of the prints of the mixed media drawings than my photography work. Makes me glad that I kept the prints of drawings in the bin! This last vendor, Taylor’s Maid Designs, was a mother-daughter team selling artwork and greeting cards/gift boxes from upcycled materials. We had a lovely conversation with them about the convention scene in general.
We talked in part about how conventions can sometimes be frustrating because the customers are often more interested in fan art than original works. I had found this the case throughout the weekend. Many people would only kind of glance at my artwork but would go crazy over an artwork based on something they knew already. I understand why this is the case but, as an original artist who does not do any fan art, it can be very frustrating and financially more difficult. The Maid (the mother part of the team) pointed out that the reason that I sold primarily to vendors is because they can appreciate the artistry and originality in my work more than some of the con-goers. I know in time I will make more sales, I guess I just get impatient sometimes.
One regret I have from this convention was not getting out from behind my table very much. There were a lot of vendors there and I wish I had had a chance to speak to more of them. Next time I will try harder to do that.
I also need to get working on some promo for my Circus book (which still needs a title). I did get to talk to a LOT of people at this con about my book, which was great. I had a little sign on my table that said “Ask me About my Book” and at RocCon, people actually did! Even so, I definitely need to get some postcards, stickers, buttons, or something made up that specifically promote the upcoming publication. Plus I need to finish the editing process and get a finished layout so I can do a test printing! Ah! Always so much to do!
Well, I think I’ve rambled enough for one day. Check out Bunnykissd’s blog here to read more about the 52-Week Photo Challenges. If you’d like to see the images I’ve submitted for the project, check out the flickr group here.
Post Con Update!
As usual, the last month has been a crazy whirlwind of activity. I officially have work at Lakeside Artisans in Oswego. I dropped off framed work last week. I am excited to have my work in another location. Even if I don’t make any sales there, it is great exposure.
After framing and dropping off artwork at Lakeside Artisans, I had to continue preparing for Ryu-Kon. This is an anime and gaming convention in Niagara Falls where I had an Artist Alley booth. Preparing was hectic as I had so much going on the weeks before that this event almost got put on a back burner. The trip itself went smoothly and the event was a lot of fun. I did not sell much, although I made some great contacts.
An author (named Meagan Cook) spoke to me about potentially doing a book cover for her novel, Firefly Darkness. She gave me a preview book of her novel and it sounds pretty exciting! You can check her out on Facebook here. Then a cosplay group asked me about doing group photos of them in costumes and then adding some of my manipulations on top of them. I’ve never done anything like that before but it sounds like a lot of fun. Another lady, who does Reiki (a light touch therapy), thought my style might work for a brochure for her business. In addition to these interesting project ideas, another vendor approached me about doing a commissioned artwork for her. She wanted the work to be on a playmat-a kind of big mousepad that is used to play card or dice games. She gave me complete free reign to compose whatever I wanted, which is super exciting. She also thought prints of my work on these playmats might sell at her shop, so I’m going to consider getting some printed for resale as well.
While at Ryu-Kon, I also gained 3 new fans on my Facebook page! That brings me up to 68! Which of course means I got to share my newest image, Setting the Sun! Be sure to check out my Facebook page here to see the full version!
I am definitely more excited for Roc-Con, a sci-fi/fantasy convention held in Rochester. Multiple people have told me that it is greatly attended, so that is always promising. Plus, I really enjoy cons, so it’ll be fun to go anyway.
In the more short term, my life does not slow down anytime soon. Just this week, these are my plans: I am teaching a class tonight at the CNY Arts Center called Story Time Art. It’s a class geared specifically toward 4-7 year olds. Tonight we are reading Where the Wild Things Are, which always reminds me of my big brother because it was his favorite book growing up. After my class I have to head right over to the Arts in the HeArt Gallery for our monthly Artist Meet-up event.
Wednesday I have Gallery hours, then Thursday I am attending a meeting in Oswego about the future of the Arts in Central New York. On Friday I may have 2 back to back meetings at the CNY Arts Center, and then on Saturday I’m teaching two more classes-Collage Making and Facebook: Promotion for the Arts. Somewhere in there I will also be adding some new products to etsy (stay tuned!) as well as working on some new art pieces, and keeping the CNY Arts Center’s Facebook and website up to date. I think on Sunday I may refuse to do anything.
Until next time, I hope everyone enjoys the last bit of summer!
The Open House at the Art Center's Gallery went very well. I somehow managed to volunteer myself to be in charge of head count. According to my tally marks we had approximately 100 people, which was great. I got to talk to lots of people about my work. One lady and her daughter bought a print of "The Zebra Rider"! Someone else was interested in having me do portraits of their family in my style. And still another invited me to participate in a group show at the Red Brick Pub in Fulton called "Art After Dark." So all in all it was a very successful day!
My table at Arts Fest, Sat June 8, 2013.
Once Arts Fest was over, I immediately started thinking about what I needed to prepare for Ryu-Kon, an anime/sci-fi/fantasy convention I am attending in July. Thankfully I have lots of prints made up now, so that is one less thing I'll need to do. Although I am also thinking about making some things to sell besides my straight art prints. Maybe notecards or journals? I don't want anything too cheesy, but I think there is definitely a market out there for my work in more practical/functional items than just prints. I'll have to see what I can come up with.
I also have now purchased a booth at RocCon, another convention (this one in Rochester) toward the end of September. Attending this one means that I'll have to miss Livie's birthday party, but it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. Serena and I are planning a trip down to WV to visit my sister at some point anyway, even if we won't be there for the shindig.
In the meantime, before these two conventions, I have several other things to look forward to. I have several classes scheduled over the summer at the CNY Arts Center, from Drawing to Collaging to Facebook: Promotion for the Arts to Story Time Art for kids. Check out all my classes here. I also have filled out an application to be a "consignment" artist at Lakeside Artisans in Oswego. It is an artist co-op gallery where, if accepted, I will be able to display and sell my work from their shop. I'm pretty excited about this opportunity because I know the more exposure I can get, the better.
I also have 2 public shows coming up in the next two months! One is a group show with the CNY Arts Center at a local hospice. The other was actually this past Monday-the Art After Dark show that got suggested to me at the Gallery Open House on June 1st. It was an interesting event. We set up in a banquet hall at the Red Brick Pub in Fulton. Although only a handful of people stopped by, Jesse Renfrew and I both sold work, so it turned out to be a great evening! Plus we got to spend time drawing and making paper hats with Jesse's son Ben.
If you'd like to keep up to date on all of what I'm up to, be sure to Like my Facebook page. With over 50 likes now, it's easier to find: www.facebook.com/diabolicalwhimsy. I look forward to connecting with you there!
Up and Coming!
It took quite a while for me to figure out which of my images I could actually crop down into a square format. As a general rule, I like to create images in rectangles, because the asymmetry creates more dynamic compositions. So some of the pieces that I might have wanted to use (such as "Anonymous Goddess") just did not work as 6x6s. After some trial and error, I was able to find six good square compositions.
Yesterday I got the prints all cropped and filled out the forms for each one. Today I mailed them out-and two days before shipping deadline! For more info on this show, go here.
I have also been looking into craft fairs and fantasy/sci fi conventions that I can go to with either my wish bags, art, or both. Unfortunately a handful of the craft fairs I considered attending happen to be on days when I am teaching classes at the CNY Arts Center so that may not work so well. However, I did find at least one convention that I AM attending this summer-my booth is already paid for! It's called Ryu-Kon and looks to be primarily an anime/gaming convention but I think my stuff will fit in just fine. This year it is being held in Niagara Falls, so we should be able to stay with my partner's family who lives in the area. Staying with family cuts down tremendously on hotel costs and means I'll make more of a profit! Plus, purchasing the space (plus 2 passes) at Ryu-Kon was only $55! I should be able to break even on this event without too much trouble. There are some other conventions I want to keep in mind for the fall and then next Spring, including EerieCon, RocCon, and maybe if I'm really lucky, DragonCon.
So this has been my exciting update about what I'm doing with my art business! Be sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on tumblr for more updates! I'm also planning a FREE Giveaway for my Facebook fans! =^.^= More details coming soon!
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.
52-Week Photo Challenge
A Calendar Of Tales
All Fired Up
Art After Dark
Cny Arts Center
Fall Out Boy
S. A. McKay
Taylor's Maid Designs