Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry Blonde + a brief overview of SPACE

Did this today while taking a break from a different digital painting that I was working on. 

The other piece is based on a sketch I did while I was at SPACE this last weekend, which segues nicely, don't you think?

This was my third year attending SPACE and was, by far, the slowest. I don't know if there really were not as many people attending as in previous years, or if was just that I ended up in an unlucky aisle. But despite that, I was able to comfortably make up the cost of both the table and the hotel, so I can safely say that I will be attending next year (and for the forseeable future. Even if I hadn't made the money back I'd still go: it's an enjoyable experience every time)

That being said, I was definitely not in the right headspace for dealing with massive amounts of people. Or even small amounts of people. I could have handled things more gracefully, and have done in the past. And will do in the future. Learning Has Occurred. 

There is, however, one thing about this year's SPACE that has been weighing on my mind pretty much since the start of the con on Saturday morning. I want to make it abundantly clear from the outset that this is not a thing that I am assigning blame for, nor even a situation in which blame comes into play. It doesn't. It's just a thing that happened. 

I've been thinking a lot about who the audience for my works is, recently. With paintings, I can't always get a clear picture, but when it comes to comics I know that I'm aiming for the comics as literature crowd, people who are looking for stories, first and foremost, who understand my need to explore the medium and push at the squishy bits. They're equally likely to be male as female and are late teens to middle adult. I was tabling with Diana Busby this year, whose audience is primarily children who are like the child that she was: intelligent, imaginative, and perhaps just a little bit deranged. Neither of us really go in for the things that people outside the industry think of comics as being: superheroes and hypersexuality. 

So, of course, we ended up placed next to someone whose whole reason to be seemed to be tied up in those two things. (Our other flank was protected by Leslie Anderson and Jared Anderson, so there was that.)  First of all: more power to him. That guy had a fuck ton (ha ha) of books, all hand produced. Plus, talk about knowing your audience. It was pretty lowest common denominator, male-gaze only type stuff, but if that's what you're in the market for, you're gonna find something there. The problem was that the people who would be drawn to the sort of thing that Diana and I were doing would most often not be interested in what he had to offer (and vice versa, of course.) 'Not interested' is a nice way to say 'found offputting and repulsive.' I watched a lot of potential customers see our table, start to come over, maybe even start to reach out to page through something, only to have their eyes hop briefly to the next table over. 

And then they would walk away and not come back. This was VERY FRUSTRATING. Frustrating enough to DESERVE LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS. 

But that is the way things go sometimes.

Also: I've definitely got to start selling prints at these things. And I'm going to put together a book of paintings as well (boy howdy am I looking forward to editing all those images. yeesh)

1 comment:

  1. Ryan and I ran into similar stuff at Summit City Comic Con last year. The guy sitting next to us was putting together these incredibly vast and detailed drawings of various DC and Marvel superheroes. Really impressive stuff, but basically, we ended up being the table people glanced at while they checked his stuff out. The convention is very art-centric already, so getting put there really didn't help things. So I understand the frustration, although at least we didn't have the additional challenge you faced of having to fight against boobs on top of that.