So I know I haven’t blogged in a while and there is probably a lot I could write about, but I’m going to focus today on my most recent event, RocCon. Held at the Main St. Armory in Rochester, this multi-genre convention was a lot of fun. The traffic was much better than Ryu-Kon and I met some great people, made some new connections and even sold a few pieces!
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.
There were some other really great outfits there as well. The lady below, bless her soul, stopped by my table and couldn’t stop talking about how cute *I* was with my winged ears and bottles-of-gears earrings. I kept trying to tell her that I wanted to take her picture because I loved her steampunk hat, but it was hard to interrupt her flattering me, haha. I eventually was able to talk her into a photo, and then I discovered that her hat lit up! She was quite remarkable.
I also met some great people who were interested in modeling for me, which is very exciting. Several people related my work to Neil Gaiman and/or Dave McKean, which never fails to make me giddy. I had a great conversation with one gentleman about Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, probably my favorite Gaiman piece. He was very impressed by my work and ended up asking if I could do a commissioned portrait of him and his wife. I look forward to working on that with him.
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.
I did the majority of business in the last half hour of the convention—and all to other vendors. One of the coolest sales was to an author named Jasmine Mead. I had been eyeing her book, Our Last Hero (which she also designed the cover of) all weekend, but since I hadn’t made back the money for the table, I really couldn’t afford to buy it. I felt even worse about this because I had talked to her on Friday and told her I was going to buy it. Late on Sunday, she came over to my table and started looking through my bin of prints. After a few minutes, she sighed and picked up my business card, asking if I had prints available online. I told her I did, but if she was interested I would be willing to trade her the print for her book. She agreed and even signed the copy for me! I was super happy about it and can’t wait to read it.
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!
In addition to this great convention, I have also been *attempting* to follow along with this 52-Week Photo Challenge created by a local artist, Diana “Bunnykissd” Bukowski. I’m currently behind, although I think attempting to work toward these challenges has helped me keep up with creating more art, so that’s a good thing for sure.
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.
I am finally getting to post about all the excitement that's occurred over the last couple of weeks! First, I want to talk about my trip up north a few weekends ago when I was fortunate to have the chance to FINALLY take some new photographs. I have been complaining about needing more images to work on for a while, so when we were planning a trip up to Massena, NY, I knew I just had to get ahold of my friends/models to get some shoots scheduled. Thankfully I was able to schedule two different sessions! The first set was with an old friend and frequent model-er, Erin LaVoie. We met up around dusk at a local park. Erin came with loads of costumes and accessories piled into the back of her car. It was like the good old times when we were kids. We would go over to each other's homes to play pretend and would always go with at least two backpacks jam packed with costumes.
Erin: Nothing's changed!Erin modeling as The Tightrope Walker.
We did a total of 3 sets with various costumes using flashlights, streetlights, some glow sticks and a light up bouncy ball as light sources. We had a fantastic time and I am so looking forward to sorting through and working on the images I captured. Keep an eye out for sneak peeks coming soon on my Facebook Page.
I will forever be grateful that Erin became so willing to model for me. Believe it or not, she used to hate having her pictures taken, but now she is quite enjoys it. She has gotten pretty good at it too. I think she has spoiled me a bit because she is so used to my style and ideas, she needs little direction from me. She just poses effortlessly, which is great. Although it sometimes makes it difficult for me to start working with a new model. Of no fault of their own, a new model doesn't always know what kind of poses I am looking for. I experienced this on my second photo session with the lovely Jarika Donalis.
After being friends with Jarika for almost three years, it only just occured to me to ask if she would be interested in modeling for me. She has a great sense of style-a little punk mixed with some floral prints-so I knew she could have some great outfits for me to use already. She gladly agreed to the proposal so we set up a time. We had a great time and I think I got some nice shots. To start with, she was unsure what to do, so I kind of posed her like a mannequin-right down to her fingers! As I predicted, we were able to use her extensive wardrobe to design 3 costumes. By the end of the 3rd set, Miss Jarika got the hang of it. I am by far the most excited about the last few images!
Amidst all this fantasy photo shoot mayhem, I also had a wonderful time visiting with family. The only thing that could have made the trip better would have been more time. Unfortunately, it ended all too soon and I had a long day of substituting the next day. By the end of the school day, I was exhausted. Thankfully, I had just enough time to take a nap before I had to get ready to attend the CNY Arts Center's Artist Meet-up. This is a social gathering of visual artists designed to allow us t share work, talk about ideas and just have fun. This month's event also consisted of a field trip to our new Arts in the Heart Gallery.
My work at the CNY Arts Center's Gallery.
During our trip to the Gallery, I was able to install my work there as well. I am actually the featured artist of the month! If you live in Central New York, you should stop by and check it out at 47 1st St, Fulton, NY. Visit http://cnyartscenter.com/cny-arts-center-gallery.html for more information.
Over the last week, I have been kept very busy with substituting. However, I think I have been getting better about making sure I find time to work on my own art stuff as well. As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I submitted an entry into a t-shirt design contest that I created partly with my drawing tablet in Photoshop. No word on that yet, but it got me really excited about creating illustrations with my tablet. I would expect to see more examples like that soon!
Now, I am off to the CNY Arts Center's Author Spotlight event to hear Margaret Streitenberger and illustrator Jim Arnold speak about their new book, Did the Cow Really Jump Over the Moon? It's a memoir about pet sitting that looks really interesting. Until next time...
I cannot believe that it is March already! I have lots to do this month as my new Photo classes start this Tuesday. The first class, Camera Basics, is about learning how your camera functions. I had to do some research to prepare to teach the class...it's one of those things where I know how it works, but having to explain it to someone can sometimes be difficult. But after a couple of hours of refreshing my memory on some of the more technical stuff, I feel prepped and ready to teach!
Over the "spring" season at CNY Arts Center I have lots of classes planned. I'm teaching the photo class again in addition to two drawing classes, a class entitled Creative Block Busters which is geared at helping people break out of creative ruts, and the Facebook promotion class I mentioned last time. I'm very excited about all of them.
Over the next week, I am working on at least three images to submit to Neil Gaiman's A Calendar of Tales project. Powered by Blackberry, Neil Gaiman asked fans to answer 12 questions corresponding to the 12 months of the year. Now he has written 12 short stories to go with his favorite answers and is asking people to submit artworks to illustrate them. I will die of happiness if one of my pieces gets put in the publication. Seriously.
And to end my post for today:
Today a CNY Arts Center member asked me what my "ideal" job situation would be. When I replied "being a full time artist," she laughed at me. What she said next went something like this:
I said "idealistic" not "unrealistic." Yeah, when I was in high school I thought I wanted that too. Then I realized that being a starving artist wasn't going to work for me. So I figured I'd better get a REAL job first.
To me, it is very sad that so many people have this sort of attitude about art. Being an artist is NOT unrealistic. Being an artist does NOT mean you have to starve. Being an artist IS a real job. You just need the motivation to strive toward your goals. I thank the Powers that Be everyday that I have not lost that sense of purpose in my life. I just wish I could convince others to be as hopeful as me.
One of my students drawing with their feet!
My how time does fly...The holidays have come and gone, and even January will be out the door in a few days. Since Halloween (and my last blog entry), I have been trying to work on more art, get my book designed and edited, become ever more involved with the CNY Arts Center here in Fulton, not to mention substitute teaching a lot more. I find that I like subbing significantly more than I thought I might. The kids are pretty awesome, even the ones who give me a hard time. I once had a kid ask if instead of calling me "Miss Matott" if he could call me "Miss Tattertot." As I found this disrespectful, I responded with a firm "no." Although, apparently, one of my friends thinks it's a great nickname and have even changed my name in her phone to label me as such. Luckily, I have a sense of humor, and I couldn't really blame the kid for coming up with it. It is pretty inventive.
That is definitely my favorite thing about working with kids. They are so imaginative. One 4th grade class that I have subbed for a few times came up with this whole system of "selling" items for fake money, including having one student collect "taxes" while the "vendors" put on commercials for the class to advertise their wares. They even have a "mail carrier" who delivers notes to students in the classroom. They do all this during their free time, and it was completely on their own-their teacher had nothing to do with it. Although they did make her "Mayor" of their little town.
With all the substituting I've been doing, it has been a little bit of a struggle to keep up with working on my art. I do my best to squeeze in art time whenever I can, although some nights I am just too tired. I have been keeping a time log of all art-related things I do, which helps me understand just how much time I am actually working on photo, compared to updating Facebook or working at the CNY Arts Center. I have certainly become very active at CNY Arts Center since I moved to Fulton in June. I am now an official Facebook Administrator for their page, in addition to being in charge of updating the "Studio Arts" section of their website. I have also been recently asked to join a "Studio Arts Committee" which will plan specific events and classes. Plus, I got volunteered to be a Studio Arts teacher this summer for their Arty Camp for kids (not that I mind at all). I am rather excited to be such an active member in this group. They are very supportive and attending several of their events has opened up a lot of connections in the community for me.
While talking about being active at CNY Arts Center, I can't forget to talk about my classes! I taught my first drawing class a few weeks ago! The three ladies who took it had a great time. The one pictured in the photo above had to use markers for her foot drawing because she was wearing panty hose. It turned out pretty well though! She titled it "Influenza 2013."
I also have a photo class scheduled in March, which I am super excited about! I'll be teaching the basics of taking photos with a digital camera. Check out more details on the CNY Arts Center website. I have also been asked to design a workshop to teach how to use social media to promote the arts. I'm not sure how qualified I am for that, but I will certainly do my best.
In addition to being a teacher, web administrator and committee member, I have also been keeping my eyes on some classes that I want to attend. The first of those was actually this past weekend--"Is Self-Publishing For You?" The event was hosted by Susan Peterson Gateley, a self-published local author who shared her experiences with the self-publishing process. The event was very well attended, and the range of skill and focus in the group was very interesting. Some of the information covered I already knew, but she also covered a lot of things I had not thought of before. And now I am even more excited to get working on finishing up my book about my circus characters! I think I might go work on that now. For now, enjoy this preview...
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.