Illuxcon has been over for a
few many weeks now and I have yet to write anything about it. Not because it wasn’t great, but I came back completely exhausted and overwhelmed. So here I am, making a very late attempt at a summary.
There were many firsts at Illuxcon this year. It was the first time the show lasted 5 days (Wednesday to Sunday,) it was the first time it was held in Allentown (before it was in Altoona, PA,) it was the first time I had a travel companion (I went with my buddy Sybiline, whom I met at a different convention – see? conventions are important,) first time there were other french speakers I got to hang out with.
Sybiline and me in front of the main venue.
The whole lasting 5 days thing came with its lot of changes as well. There is now two parts to the main show, one that lasts the whole five days and a weekend salon that was also juried but was only held on Saturday and Sunday. The life drawing and live music events were merged together and held on Thursday night. The showcase which used to last 4 hours was now twice as long, Friday and Saturday evenings.
I was on the waiting list for the showcase and only learned that I had a table less than two weeks before the show so I had a lot to prepare. Traveling across the border with paintings is a problem because while there is no duty on art, I’m not allowed to work in the U.S. and selling art would be working (weirdly enough, I’m allowed to have a booth and to take orders for sales, but not to actually give the art to the buyer, even if it’s already painted.) So I only brought Pink! as a display piece, and some prints as “promotional material.” Had I had more time to prepare, I could have shipped the originals to the show in advance. I’ll know for the next year. Two nights of showcase is a lot, the artists in the main show have to man their table for much longer, but finishing at midnight twice in a row takes its toll. And after 11p.m. there aren’t that many visitors doing the rounds.
Will Dudla was nice enough to send me the picture he took when he visited my table.
As usual, the art in the main show was stunning. The new venue offers much higher walls than the old venue and some of the artists really took advantage of it. Michael Whelan and Donato Giancola had massive pieces that would have never fit in Altoona. I’m always overwhelmed by how nice almost everyone is at such events. I have a problem recognising faces and I’m often embarrassed to be recognized by people whose face I don’t remember (wear your name badge people!) The embarrassment is compounded by how much some artists get out of their ways to explain their techniques, answer question, review portfolio and offer precious advice even when you are obviously not in the market for their paintings.
When youhad the weekend salon to the main show, you get a gigantic event. A lot of new faces there and also artists who had been in the main show in the past. The weekend salon is a lot less work, the artists only have to be present at their tables for two days instead of 5. The down side is that it was very hard to hang around the weekend salon because the space was smaller than planned (apparently the museum floor plans were not very accurate!) and everyone was there at the same time, since there was only two days to see everything and there were still lectures and demos going on. I was very glad to see friend of mine have tables i the salon, it was a great way to introduce new artists to Illuxcon.
Lectures and demos
As usual, there is so much good programming that I had to make very difficult choices. I mostly went to demos and practical lectures: Nonie Nelson on anatomy, Jason Cheeseman-Meyer on perspective, painting demos by Jeremy Wilson (I found his way of working very alien, I guess that’s a good thing) and Armand Cabrera. I also went to the Schindehette/Ruppel talk about concept art vs illustration and the M:tG panel, and the Hildebrand talk about colors (which turned out to be about anecdotes and Michael Jackson and not so much about color theory.) Overall, I felt more rushed than other years, like everything was crammed together and I never had enough time to see what I wanted to see but I really enjoyed what I got to see.
Of course, there is even more to Illuxcon. Meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, meeting people I had known online for a long long time for the first time, seeing some I had not seen in years. Talking to heroes and discovering new inspirations. Of course, no convention is complete without swag and this one is no exception. Aside from a crapton of business cards, I bought two great sketchbooks. I really like books that have process pictures, either just drawings or drawings with finished pieces.
Sketchbooks by Randy Gallegos and Allen Douglas along with interior shots for the respective books.
Here lie links.
The only upside to being so slow is that a ton of other people have already posted about Illuxcon and I can make a list of posts. Ha!
Armand Cabrera’s painting demo
Recap by Eric Super Villain on Massive Fantastic , with a video
Review by Juan Carlos Barquet, IlluXCon Student Scholarship winner
Mike Burns’s notes from the lectures and panels.
Jane Frank’s superlative and glowing review. Jane is an art dealer specialised in speculative art and has given very interesting lectures on business at Illuxcon over the years.
A lecture by Jane Frank at Illuxcon, posted by Drawn Today podcast.
Jon Schindehette, art director extraordinaire’s Illuxcon review.