Friday, May 16, 2014

SFAL3 Recap

Home! Even though I got home Tuesday night after a two-day drive halfway across the country, I promptly and unintentionally "lied down on the couch for a little nap" and ended up waking up many hours later. Oops... Wednesday was spent returning the rental car, grocery shopping, and finishing up a job due that day. Now that I had a day to catch up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones and dealing with minor con-crud by camping on the couch, I'm confident my brain is ready to recollect the magic that was Spectrum!

This was my first year at SFAL, both as an attendee and exhibitor. It was also my first time west of the Mississippi. And it was the longest road trip I've taken to date. From Connecticut to Missouri was around 20 hours give or take, one way. Although in the past I made one-shot trips to and from Dragon*con in a single day, the trip to Kansas City was split into two days each way. I'm glad to have decided upon staying in Indiana on the way there, because by the time John and I reached the Super 8 we were staying at in Greenfield, after dinner I was so out of it I got scared and confused when in the parking lot of the Steak 'n Shake my car wasn't backing out of the parking space because my foot was on the break, not the accelerator... A good night's sleep was definitely needed.

So, to talk about Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! It does live up to its name, it's pretty fantastic. I could say it's comparable to IlluXcon, but only in that it's a convention that brings together artists in the genre. Considering the jury-less first-come-first-served nature of purchasing booths and tables I was extremely pleased by the level of skill all around. There were tons of people there that I knew, but also tons of people there that I never got the chance to meet before, and knew that SFAL was going to be the only venue I might have ever gotten the chance to meet them.

Way back there in the corner...

My only grievance is that it was a pretty slow con for sales. I only moved prints, no originals, however that's the general consensus I heard from even the most seasoned artists. I was in the way back, in a rear-facing booth towards the back wall. By the time we saw new faces throughout the day, even by the end of Sunday, people already had armfuls of prints and swag, and were visibly tired and just cruising through for the sake of seeing every nook and cranny.

However, SFAL for me was more about networking. I got to finally sit down and chat with Jon Schindehette about my work, and had a heart-lifting portfolio review with Mark Chiarello of DC Comics. Saturday night I got to have a fantastic hour-long discussion with Arnie Fenner about my work after the awards ceremony as well. All the talk during the weekend made me giddy, and made the drive back home from Kansas City strangely easier.

My booth! Well, half of it.

Will I go back next year? I absolutely want to! Will I drive? I don't want to don't make me... I will probably end up flying, but there was discussion of me possibly offering a courier service to artists in the area to drive their work to SFAL for a reasonable fee. But, that's something I don't exactly want to think about right now... The drive is brutal, especially after a sleepless con, but in spite of the exhaustion I feel my batteries are charged to capacity, and all I want to do is paint!