Spectrum Fantastic Art Live moved back to Kansas City this year, and I couldn’t have been happier. SFAL is a great convention, full of incredible artwork from the best artists in science fiction and fantasy. Here are a few random thoughts in retrospect:
Overall I didn’t to too badly; I made back my table fee and about half the hotel room cost, so I didn’t end up that far in the red. And the best thing about Spectrum, for me, is reconnecting with all my artist friends and colleagues, and making new connections. And, if nothing else, a renowned Magic artist bought one of my small original paintings. It’s always a real shot in the arm when someone decides to spend their hard-earned on my artwork.
Spectrum also gives me a chance to see what people respond to. Invariably, although fan art sells its share, people seem to have the best reactions to my original IP. Which is good, because as I straddle the line between art and commerce, I deal with the classic artist’s struggle: doing what makes one happy and also paying the bills.
I’m also planning on revamping my overall display to include more tabletop space for originals, and getting rid of my metal wire mesh display panels in favor of a more eye-pleasing setup. Those things are just too bulky, heavy, and not very attractive.
One thing that baffled me this year were the portfolio reviews. I didn’t participate in them, but one of my colleagues did. There was no sign-up sheet; it was first come, first serve. Although I’m sure the ADs had their reasons, and perhaps this was out of their hands, the arrangement was baffling to me. My colleague was away from his table for over two hours waiting in line.
Unfortunately, this year’s SFAL was the same weekend as C2E2, which would explain the low foot traffic. It’s hard to compete with one of the largest pop culture conventions in North America. Hopefully next year doesn’t provide the same scheduling conflict.