Tuesday, August 10, 2010
GenCon or Taking My own Advice
So GenCon has come and gone. This one was a tough one for me. I didn't have high expectations, but I did have some solid hopes. It cost alot of money I didn't have to go participate in this one, and my friends all raved about how they do extremely well in gathering sales and fans at this show in particular. Such was not the case for me. I could go on about this or that, but the recurring truth of cons is appropriateness. Who is your target audience and are they there?
At small shows, even where my artwork is an aberration from cats and dragons, it is still good enough to stand out from the rest. It draws people in and generates a few sales. At shows like Gencon, where I am bundled in with Steve Prescott, Tom Baxa, Steve Belledin and a dozen or so other fantastic working professionals, my work only glimmers in the crowd because it is all cover work. People are surprised to see large works with no monsters.
The worst part about attending cons where I shouldn't necessarily be, is the boredom. I want to be working. I want to be talking to folks. I want to be engaging new fans and justifying my presence. When I am sitting there for hours on end, I just focus inward and get all mopey. This is not necessarily the most attractive of stances, but is a part of me and demonstrates how personal all of this is for me.
So what does it all mean? Well, basically I have to follow my own advice for large and small shows alike. Do I belong there? If I don't, but really want to attend, how can I tailor my presence to succeed. Even if it is my type of show, what are my goals and how should I go about achieving them. I can't just attend an event and expect folks to throw money at me. I don't have a gimmick or a dedicated following so I can't rely on notoriety or niche buying. In short, I have to be the best me I can at all times, but understand that sometimes this will not be enough. As an Ultimate Frisbee coach, I have often said "that you have to go into a game trying to win, but ready to have fun even if you lose".
So today's tip comes round and round to : Listen to your own advice.
I have lots of irons in the fire and can't wait to show you them as they emerge. You guys take care, and thanks for reading. Also, to end on a personally positive note, here are my 2 best Gencon moments.
1.) I did a really cool portrait for a guy named Justin. He had me draw him as a 50s serial sci-fi astronaut and liked it enough to come back and buy a print later. Cool guy and cool idea.
2.) Paolo Parente of DUST and AT-43 fame came over to the booth and marveled at my maquettes. He was tickled to see his creations come to life in a different way. Paolo is the game/book designer/illustrator for DUST as well as the creator of most of the AT-43 vehicles. When he saw the paintings he seemed pretty blown away and asked ME to get in a photo with him. He was even more stunned when I signed and gave him 2 prints of the SP pieces. A really humble guy with extraordinary talent. Thanks for your work Paolo and the high compliment.