Hey guys n gals!
It’s been a while, ey? I’ve been rather caught up in artwork, especially after I set up a table to sell a variety of items in the Artist Alley at Metrocon earlier this year. I do owe you a post about my experience at the artist alley as it is.
I have been attending Metrocon in Tampa for about four years now but it is a whole different experience from the other side of an artist/vendor table. First off are the hours. I know that convention attendees pull amazing stints when blending their waking hours, and as an attendee I respect that a lot of people can survive the three to four day stretch without falling over every two seconds by closing ceremonies of the last day. However, the hours spent by the artists, vendors, and performers [traveling to the center (if you don’t have a hotel room nearby), setting up a table/booth/performance/stage, and remaining attentive throughout the day to perform] is a type of energy separate from that of an attendee. This year at Metrocon the busy hour picked up especially early in comparison with the previous years and there was a surprise rush only midway through the first day! As such, with all the questions I was answering and promotion I was doing my throat was sore by the end of the first day. Goodness!
This is the first convention I have managed a table where I was selling my own work. I was fortunate enough to have the help of two artists in the alley with me. Sena and Arcana Major were invaluable to my first experience at a convention and helped make the event a positive one. They shared tips with me about printing, booking artist tables, and we shared drawing supplies when in a pinch. I found that most artists I met in the alley were like this: cheerful, positive, and helped each other (as far as set up and tips) like one big team. It was just as well because locating my table on the first day I was full of nerves – a combination of apprehension (would I sell anything?), excitement for finally taking the steps to spread my name and work, and disbelief that I was finally here. After months of planning, changing my mind, and years of putting together artwork I was finally here! My main goals for this convention were to at least show my work, note which designs pulled the most attention, and distribute my business cards and a free Kaleidoscope story, Ointment (also available for free online). At most I was hoping to break even on the cost of reserving a full table.
The display for each day was different. Above you can see the set up for the first day where I was concentrating on producing masquerade masks. Starting in 2007, Metrocon began hosting an interactive Fantasy Masquerade Ball on Friday evening. This event requires a separate ticket and a masquerade mask for entrance. The pickings for masquerade masks at the convention were slim, and usually expensive so I offered a cheaper alternative: simple curved masks ranging from five to seven dollars. It only took me fifteen minutes to make a mask so I could custom design and color them in time for the ball. I had promised a unique mask to someone on the Facebook Metrocon site the evening before, but I’d forgotten the name of the commissioner. I set out the mask in hopes that they would remember and lo and behold, halfway through the first day he showed up. It was none other than the man running and presenting the Fantasy Masquerade Ball himself – imagine my surprise!
For the second day my father and I managed to procure do-it-yourself shelving that we could assemble and display my artwork on. This day was one of the busiest with the crowds of people traveling the aisles of the artist alley so thick they were almost stand still lines. Most of my business cards were taken that day and I hope people were easily able to find my deviantArt page as well as this blog.
The third and final day was the busiest of all. Events were a little slow to start in the morning and the crush of last day purchases started on a steady rise. When I ran out of business cards I started writing my deviantArt address on the back of purchased prints. Depending on the amount of prints a patron purchased I also gave them a left over mask with similar notations for free. The big crunch came in the last two and a half hours when other artists were packing up and the items on my table were more visible. Going into the convention I was worried that people would not want to buy original prints but so many of my original works sold that my apprehension was quickly diminished. In fact, there were a trio of pictures related to a long work I was doing and many patrons purchased these three together. Upon discovering that the pictures were related they were excited to locate my stories online! The trio of prints are Under the Snow, Caught, and Through the Fire.
Several friends of mine who were also attending the convention came by to visit. I was able to capture some of them in costume on the first and third days of the convention. You can see them pictured below!
I do intend to attend more conventions in the future, and I’ll announce them here on the blog as soon as I know where I will be displaying and selling my work! In the mean time, I will be working on commissions. If you are interested in the prints I have available or if you would like to commission me, please feel free to contact me on any of my alternate accounts or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to working with you!