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!
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.
I have been visiting family here in West Virginia for the past week. We had our family reunion here. It was a small gathering this year but it was still a lot of fun. We planned some cool crafts for the kids, including a "firework" painting and glitter wands. Us adults had fun playing Apples to Apples and Cranium. I'm excited to use some of the photos I took while I've been here in some new images, especially the ones I took around our camp fire.
I am also super excited to announce that my Kickstarter campaign to fund the self-publication of The Ringleader has officially started! I worked for weeks working out all the kinks in my rewards, description, and my video and it is finally ready. You can check it out here:
Want to know more about The Ringleader? Be sure to visit my new page about the book here. There you will find a PDF preview of the first couple pages. As the campaign progresses, I will be adding updates here and on Kickstarter.
It is more exhilarating than I can express to be getting so close to self-publishing this art book. Ever since I encountered art books like Brian Froud’s Good Faeries/Bad Faeries and Suza Scalora’s The Faeries I have dreamed of publishing my own artwork into a book. To have that lifetime goal almost complete is amazing.
While organizing all the new photos into folders, I also discovered that I have several images that are basically done but have not been shared on the website or on my social media pages. When I edit my photos, the final stage is very tedious. I enlarge the image and go through it to make sure there are no stray pixels or noise. This step takes so much time and patience that I am often guilty of postponing it. All of the mostly finished works are stuck on this step. So I guess I should stop waiting and go finish those up, shouldn’t I?
Maybe I will use some of those new images for my entries for the 6x6x2014 show at RoCo. I also have started two small mixed media drawings for the show, although finishing them may prove difficult. As always, I have a list a mile long of things that need to get done. Such is the life of an artist. At least I'll never be bored!
1. Like Diabolical Whimsy on Facebook
2. Share the contest image featured on my Facebook page with your friends (it will go live on the Facebook page at 8 pm EST)
3. Comment on your favorite Diabolical Whimsy image on Facebook
It’s that easy! The winner (which could be you!) will be drawn at random from a fancy hat (complete with feather!) on Wed, Nov 13. I will reveal the winner on the following day. :D
I’m really excited about this giveaway because I have been trying to work out a contest for several months now. I look forward to seeing how it goes. I plan to create more giveaways in the future as well…maybe even one around the holiday season. So be sure to keep an eye on my website and social networking sites!
As for what else I have been up to, I have been working on some new images and have even finished some! I can always be more productive, but I am pretty happy with all the new images I’ve turned out in the last few months. Below is just one example of a new image. You may have seen it on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.
Written and Illustrated by Kendra Matott
Plus, I am another step closer to publication since I finally have gotten back my story from my editor-in-chief, my sister Ranah. I am very grateful for her help with the story. It wouldn’t be nearly as powerful and cohesive if she hadn’t been there to help me fine-tune it. I still have some work to do on the text itself, not to mention some images that need to get finished as well. However, I am optimistic that this project (which is now into it’s second year) will wrap up pretty as a present. What can I say? I’m a glass half full kind of gal. :) Until next time…
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.
Erin: Nothing's changed!Erin modeling as The Tightrope Walker.
Kendra: I'm so glad neither of us ever grew up.
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.
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 need more dreams
And less life
You are what you love
Not who loves you
Oh no, we won’t go
Cause we don’t know when to quit, oh, oh
Even being newly inspired, I am having some issues getting back into working because I have so few photographs left to work with. Below are two images of the early process of that I still have left, in the early stages of my process.
I do need to take a few more photos to go with my Circus story, but I think either I (or my partner) will model for those. My story is almost done being edited. I’m still waiting for my editor-in-chief to give it back to me…but she just gave birth to her second child, so it might be a little while. Keep looking out for more updates about it!
Late Saturday night, I was scrolling through my tumblr trying to make myself be tired enough to sleep. Still curious about the Calendar of Tales project, I searched for it as a tag. The first post I see is one by an artist who had submitted a piece to the contest. Underneath their artwork, they state it has been "shortlisted." The following posts that I find are all similar; posts by artists excited that their work has been choosen as a finalist by Neil Gaiman. One even posted the e-mail they were sent. With a sinking heart, I realize that I did not receive any e-mail like that...meaning none of my works were selected as finalists, meaning Neil Gaiman looked at my work. And he didn't like it.
Needless to say, I got terribly depressed. I've never been terribly good at rejection, but this was worse. This felt personal. Maybe because I love Neil Gaiman's work, or because I felt close to him through social networking, or maybe it was just because I actually knew who was judging my work. Either way, I was crushed. So many emotions ran through me that night. I felt as if my heart had been broken, as if I had lost a friend. Neil Gaiman, who I look up to as a master of the fantasy world I am trying to belong to, saw my work and did not like it. Or, I suppose, liked others better than mine. With this single decision, I felt as if all my hopes of becoming a successful fantasy artist were foiled. It was as if Neil Gaiman himself was telling me to give up.
Now, even at the time, I knew all of those things weren't really true. But snapping myself out of this emotional turmoil was tough. However, I did recover, in thanks to my wonderful partner, Serena, my best friend Erin and my cousin Jenny, among others. Through their support, I was able to remember that one rejection does not mean failure. As Erin messaged me:
"One rejection does [not] mean failure or lack of talent. Rowling submitted [Harry Potter] to 11 place[s] before publishing so don't give up [you're] too good for that."
To end this entry, I'd like to quote Fall Out Boy's newest song, "The Phoenix." which has become my mantra for the past few days. I find it fitting, too, that it has the same reference to this mythological creature as the August Tale, by Neil Gaiman.
We are the jack-o-lanterns in July
Setting fire to the sky
Here, here comes this rising tide
So come on
Put on your war paint...So we can take the world back from the heart-attacked
One maniac at a time we will take it back
You know time crawls on while your waiting for the song to start
So dance alone to the beat of your heart
Hey young blood
Doesn't it feel
Like our time is running out?
I'm gonna change you like a remix
Then I'll raise you like a phoenix
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."
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.
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