Photo courtesy of Michael Sanders
Welcome to any of you sexy fucking people joining me on my website for the first time!
Another Comicon has come and gone here in Winnipeg. The dust has settled and I finally have time to reflect on what an awesome weekend I had and everything I learned in order to make next year even better.
The biggest fear I had going into this years Comicon was when I found out that Artists Alley wouldn’t be on the same floor as all the vendors and celebrities. In past years, the Winnipeg Comicon is basically a kaleidoscopic orgy of everything on one floor, and I loved it for that. I was a little worried that with the artists being on a separate floor, noone would know about Artists Alley, or worse yet, be interested. I thought it was going to be completely empty. Except for maybe a few crickets but those guys can’t buy or even appreciate art.
My aforementioned fear about Artists Alley being a ghost town were quickly blown the fuck away when I stepped off the elevator and saw the massive crowd on our floor. I was excited on one hand, and stressed out on the other, knowing I had to cut through a massive crowd to bring my stuff to the table, as well as rush to set it up. My display doesnt really lend itself to a quick pop up. I see so many other (smarter) artists with those retractable banners or even lightweight frames that pop up in a matter of minutes. Not this guy though. For some reason, I use SIX FUCKING metal grid racks which have to be bolted together before they can stand on their own or have any display panels hung off of them. And every single one of those display panels require 4-6 zipties to attach to the grid racks.
I don’t know how much longer it would have taken, had my buddy Michael not been wandering past my table and asked if I needed an extra pair of hands setting up.( Michael, if you’re reading this, we’re taking you and Sarah out for drinks sometime. )
I never have an exact formula for how to set up my booth, but thankfully my special lady has a knack for design and how things should look and she did a bangup job of arranging all the prints, postcards and magnets while I figured out how I wanted to display my showpiece. (Janelle, if you’re reading this I feel like I owe you some drinks or since you’re not much of a drinker, a series of backrubs.)
The showpiece I’m referring to was a giant print of the Millenium Falcon being chased through space by a swarm of TIE Fighters. And rendered in glorious, cutting-edge 1950’s era 3D.You know, the kind with the red and blue glasses. Back when I thought our floor was going to have tumbleweeds blowing across it, I figured something like a 3D Falcon poster was my best shot at getting attention. I couldn’t have been more wrong about needing to fight for peoples’ attention though. I truly underestimated the convention goers and their thirst for checking out new artwork.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Janelle, Courtney, and Christine for all their hard work and enthusiasm at my table this past weekend. Everything you did, whether it was helping setup, selling, or tearing down at the end, was so appreciated. Everyone was enthusiastic, friendly and super helpful. I can’t think of a better combination of qualities to have, in assistants.
(I think I’ll have to buy you all drinks at some point as well. Hmm…I’m thinking I’ll probably owe a lot of people a lot of drinks by the end of this post.)
I’ve touched on this before, but I’m going to bring it up again. I consider myself so fucking lucky to be able to dream, but more importantly, to have the ability to express those dreams through image and text. Its kind of a magical thing to have something living inside your own imagination, where its intangible and noone else can experience it, and then be able to commit it to paper and make it tangible so that others can enjoy it and be as amused or entertained by it as you are.
I always believed this desire to connect with other people and share ideas was the at the core of every creative person, and was actually pretty bummed out to hear a wildly different perspective from one of the other artists at the show this past weekend.
My exchange with this person started pleasantly enough. They came up to my table, introduced themselves and said they dug some of my work. Anyone who’s talked to me knows that despite however big my display is, I”ve always been a pretty fucking humble guy when it comes to my actual artwork.
I remember hearing a great fucking interview with Bruce Springsteen where he distills the formula for success down to a tricky simultaneous balance of self-importance and humility. You need to believe deep down that you’re the baddest motherfucker out there, otherwise you won’t have enough grit, determination or persistence to keep on. But you need to temper that attitude with humility. Humility grounds you and reminds you that you really aren’t that fucking special in the big scope of things, and that you can always be trying harder than you already are.
I’m guessing this guy never heard that interview.
I don’t remember how the fuck a congenial conversation that barely scratched the surface devolved within minutes into him talking about how successful he is, and how he only ever got into illustration because he wanted money and fame and didn’t want to work a real job, but what a shitty and disappointing thing to hear from someone who’s objectively a really good artist and someone you WANT to look up to.
I’m sure plenty of people get into this game for the fame or fortune (although lets be fucking honest. A musician is a waaaay smarter career choice if you want fame, and being some sort of investment banker or real estate tycoon would be a safer bet for earning big money) but it’s just such a gauche, graceless thing to hear someone say out loud.
Fuck it though. Everyone else was awesome and more than made up for that one bad apple. I could talk for hours about how inspired I was, after chatting with veteran artists like Chris Chuckry, Lovern Kindierksi, Doug Wheatley, or Nicholas Burns. Or how cool it was to see tons of new work from Courtney Weddall, Scott Ford and Jamie Isfeld. Or how much fun I had at the Fame afterparty, drawing up a storm with GMB Chomichuk, David Oro and Ryan Bartel. Each of us did our own individual piece (I did an angry dinosaur, big surprise) and we all collaborated on a jam piece which was so much fun to work on. Such a clusterfuck to make heads or tails of. I think GMB posted a photo of it on his instagram.
I also loved seeing the talented artists who popped their Comicon cherry and setting up tables for the first time ever. Dan Hawksworth had an awesome table full of pop culture themed fan art, and I also had the privilege of meeting a talented guy by the name of Steve Kaul, who I managed to score a great Guardians of the Galaxy piece from, as well as s Mazzucchelli-inspired Batman postcard.
I’m kicking myself for not picking up some prints or postcards from Kevin Fawley, who does these really cool photo collages featuring anachronistic industrial panoramas of Winnipeg throughout the past century. His stuff really popped out.
I know I can’t speak for every single other artist who attended, but I did speak to a couple others who felt the same electricity that I did. There was a collective curiosity and sense of adventure in the crowd. Maybe it’s always been there, and it took me being in a smaller, more intimate room to notice it.
I loved feeling like I was one small gear in whichever mechanism was responsible for creating such a curious and fun-loving atmosphere. I want to thank every single person who stopped by my table this weekend. I don’t even care if you bought anything.
Maybe you saw my stuff last year and wanted to say hi. Maybe you saw a new piece of art I did and I saw you crack a smile. Maybe a friend bought you some art I did as a gift and you were excited to put a face to the guy who drew it. The fact that you stopped by my table means so much more than the reason you stopped by.
Every year, my goal becomes clearer. I love what I do, but I love the people who dig my style even more. You inspire me to try harder, reach higher and dream bigger.