Artistacon: A Convention for Aspiring Artistsby Matthew Innis |
While artists Chris Kotsakis and Enrico Botta were hanging out in the artist alleys of various Comic Conventions around the country, they noticed something: most of the people visiting the alley were lost. They were not lost in a physical sense, nor were they lost in a metaphysical sense for that matter, but in terms of what steps they needed to take next in order to break into the art field, these newcomers had not a clue. They were there among the professional artists – who themselves were busy drawing, promoting projects, and negotiating commissions – seeking recommendations, feedback, and guidance they could not get anywhere else. Kotsakis and Botta, who had each “been around the artistic block” a few times, knew the frustration these hopefuls were feeling, and wondered if there was anything they could do to help. Out of this desire, Kotsakis and Botta decided to gather around themselves a group of talented artists, writers, and art directors who could mentor the up-and-comers, and Artistacon was born.
Artistacon (from the words “artist” and “convention”) is a two-day gathering for artists that will have its inaugural meeting next month in southern New Jersey. Events during the weekend-long gathering include workshops, educational symposiums, portfolio reviews, demonstrations, and displays from featured artists, illustrators, sculptors, and writers. Aspiring artists, as well as seasoned veterans, are expected to gain from this meeting in which the artistic process and the future of the field will be celebrated.
Although the main focus of the convention appears to be the comics industry, representatives from other fields will be in attendance as well. Guests of Honor include Carl Potts (writer/artist/editor), Dave Palumbo (illustrator), Bob McLeod (comic artist/editor), Mark Morales (inker), Sean O’Reilly (Arcana Studio), and Mike Gustovich (writer/artist) from the comics industry; and Renee Foulks (professor), Al Gury (professor), and Neilson Carlin (painter), from the fine arts. Jon Schindette, the former Senior Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast and the current Creative Director at ThinkGeek Denver, will also be on hand offering his expertise and mentorship to those at the convention. In the Artists Alley, artists Mark Poulton, Chris Ivy, Pat Shand, Mike Capprotti, Matt Dalton, Ian Glaubinger, Dave Perillo, Ben Harvey, Ryan Brady, Philip McNulty, Marc & Nicole Lombardi, Michael Dolce, James Mascia, Jay Taylor, and Mike Pagdon will join the Guests of Honor, exhibiting their work, and offering attendees the chance for some one-on-one interaction.
Symposiums at the convention include “Self-Publishing a Novel” with Nicole Lombardi; “Technical Narrative” with Renee Foulks; “Poster Art & Pop Culture Art” with Dave Perillo and Ian Glaubinger; “Transmedia” with Sean O’Reilly; “Creating Exciting Characters” with Mike Gustovich; “Reference Photography” with Dave Palumbo; “Making Comics” with Phillip McNulty and Ryan Brady; “Visual Storytelling” with Carl Potts; “Marketing and Social Networking in Comics” with Marc Lombardi; “Alla Prima Demo” with Al Gury; “Writing for Comics” with Mark Poultan, Pat Shand, Mike Dolce, and Marc Lombardi; “Visual Storytelling” with Bob Mcleod; “Inking for Comics Artists Panel” with Mark Morales, Chris Ivy, and Matt Dalton; and “The Color Study for Reference” with Neilson Carlin.
This unique and intimate gathering of artists will take place at the Lyceum Hall in historic Burlington, New Jersey, next month on September 17th and 18th. Tickets for the event are $79 for an unlimited 2-day pass ($49 for students), or $45 for an unlimited 1-day pass. Visitors who do not want to attend the symposiums or participate in portfolio reviews, but would still like to visit the Artists Alley, can purchase admission to just that area for only $5 (if you decide to upgrade your ticket after entry, the $5 will be applied to the regular ticket price). For more information, including how to submit writing samples or schedule a portfolio review, please visit the Artistacon website at www.artistacon.org.
Come out and learn how to fulfill you career dreams, or be the one to lend your experience to the next generation of artists. Hope to see you there!