Back from IlluXcon 3, exhausted but exhilarated! Here are my highlights:
We (my fiance Chris and I) drove up with my good friend Cynthia Sheppard, who at the last minute got a table in the MAIN SHOW! As you can imagine, my little Ford Explorer was packed with art!
It was absolutely wonderful to not only catch up with people I'd met last year, but to really get some good "hang out" time with a number of them.
It was especially wonderful the number of meals we were able to coordinate on. The kick-off dinner at Red Lobster on Thursday night was especially huge, in attendance: Lauren Cannon, John Stanko, Cynthia Sheppard, Laura Diehl, Chris Kozlowski, Joe Slucher, Chris Simmons, Mike Sass, Aaron Miller. Great conversation and much portfolio trading. And fishies. I got cedar planked salmon. =^_^= For many of the other meals Chris & I munched alongside Joe Wilson, Tanja Wooten, Cynthia Sheppard and Mike Sass...who are fellow wave critique group members and all around great people. We made it a rule never to dine alone and it made the IlluXcon experience all the richer.
There were some wonderful panels and demonstrations this year. Highlights included Donato's panel on abstraction and realism.....where everything was dead on the beach. Donato is a very entertaining speaker and absolute hilarity, on top of being a master in his field. Bob Eggleton's oil painting demo was great -nothing like seeing a master go from nothing to masterpiece in 2 hours time! There were also a couple really good "business" oriented talks, including one by Dave Seeley.
The Showcase grew exponentially from last year. No longer held in the dark atrium and barely attended, this years was moved to the bigger, brighter, Ramada ballroom. There were at least 3x the amount of tables and easily 10x the interest and attendance. It was great to have the main show closed while the showcase ran, and lovely that it was held both Friday night and Saturday morning. So a ton of great energy to be had and many a talented artist in participation. One of my favorite encounters was meeting a fellow showcaser by the name of Jeff Haynie, a wonderfully accomplished career artist with some great tips for me! It was also fun talking with all of the great people who stopped by my table to flip through my portfolio and chat. It was especially hart warming the sheer number of "big name" illustrators and art directors who took the time to visit and chat with each and every showcase artist.
Speaking of "big names" my inner fan girl was delighted to finally meet a childhood hero at this Illuxcon: Greg Hildebrandt! Best known for the work he did with his (now passed) twin brother Tim on the Lord of the Rings calendars in the 70s and 80s, he also lavishly illustrated a huge stack of classic stories and fairytale. These books, which I have collected for years, were one of my earliest influences and could very rightly be credited with inspiring me down the artistic path I now travel. Now in his 70s, he is a vibrant and energy filled character, who still paints 7 days a week (he's doing more pin-up art these days) and can regal you for hours with stories of the art world that he has lived through. He was also kind enough to give me a portfolio critique and much encouragement!
And then there was the "Art Jam" where fellow illustrators with musical talent played for the rest of us.... Some really multi-talented guys and gals among us. And hanging out in the bar and lobby of the Ramada, which was a great way to get some extra portfolio swaps in and chat with some amazing people. It was absolutely amazing to see how much of a community this event has birthed.
Special thanks to the love of my life, Chris, for driving me all over Altoona, and standing at my side in every other aspect of this crazy wonderful trip.... I'm one lucky girl to have such and involved and supportive partner.
More of my personal take-aways to follow in a later post, and there are many. But to some it up: IlluXcon 3 = Amazing. I am worn out but very glad to have attending, as I've seen in many a fellow IlluXconer's facebook post: next year's can't come soon enough!
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