I recently attended MegaCon Orlando. There’s nothing in the world quite like a Con: the camaraderie of getting together with others who share your fandom, the excitement of multiple fandoms coming together to celebrate, the colorful pageantry of the Cos-Players, the panels, the exhibitors, and the Con Artists.
Yes, the Con Artists. No, I’m not talking about the Nigerian Prince or those people who call to say you won the lottery that you don’t play. I’m talking about the gloriously talented men and women who pour their heart and soul into their respective medium and then take the enormous risk to put it on public display at a Con. These awesome individuals are the ones sitting quietly at booths while we wander from place to place gawking at everything from paintings and sketchwork, to woodworking, sculpture, and even handicrafts. They spend most of the year crafting the nifty bits of geekery that you and I totally need to make our lives complete. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
For me, the absolute best part of any Con, large or small, is Artist Alley. The sheer variety of art available puts me in “Kid in a Candy Store” mode. MegaCon Orlando this year was no different. I spent more time in Artist Alley than anywhere else. Let me give you a brief peek as some of my favorites:
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of Karen Hallion. I have a ton of T-shirts featuring her art. There is an intrinsic element of fun to her art. I tried not to fan girl too much when I met her. She was drawing when I came up and was happy to let me take a pic with her. She was quite sweet and introduced me to a new artist with whom she’d done some collaborations. I’d never heard of Brandon Kenney before Karen introduced him to me but I am liking his style. I really wanted his T’challa original but, alas, budgets. I bought quite a few pieces of their work and plan to pick up more over time.
Dragons and Alcohol. I fell instantly in love with this man’s work. Meeting Stanley Morrison was a pleasure. His work is gorgeous, blending fantasy and the mundane in to a lovely cocktail. I purchased a couple of prints and drooled over the statues modeled after his art. Guess what’s on my Christmas list? I’d never heard of him before we met at MegaCon. This is part of why I love Artist Alley. Stanley was a delight to chat with and he is now on my list of artists whose works I want to collect—right next to Jasmine Beckett-Griffith.
Heather’s art is truly magical. When I spotted her booth, I immediately became a little kid once more. The splendid, fairy-tale quality of her work brought me back to a time when I discovered stories of magic and wonder. Evoking memories of The Last Unicorn, Heather’s art spins its own tale and transports you to the realm of Terratoff, a world of her own design where magic flows freely and fantasy creatures reign. I’m also loving #Junicorn and cannot wait for #Smaugust.
Having never seen The Black Sand webcomic, I wasn’t familiar with Ashley’s work prior to meeting her at MegaCon. I’d love to take credit for finding her, but my girlfirend’s daughter was the one who sent me looking for her. I am so glad she did. I absolutely had to have her rendition of the Dora Milaje general Okoye and once I started buying… well, I wound up taking five prints home.
Few artists have the ability to create in such a way that a single work opens up an entire world. Doug Hoppes is one of those few. His world is a world of humans, elementals, and wizards. A world in which Death is the judge, jury, and executioner. I stood for a long time behind several people just gawking at his art. Each piece is majestic, intriguing, and terrifying by turn. I wanted to buy them all but, again, budgets. I did the next best thing. I purchased a ShadowMyths deck and added Doug’s work to my Christmas list. Doug was friendly and chatty about his work and his world. I’m hoping to interview him soon.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of the truly amazing and talented people I was privileged to meet at MegaCon Orlando this year. This list is just the beginning. Artist Alley is just oozing with creativity and talent. This series will be showcasing samples from different Cons as well as featuring individual Con Artists and talking with them about their work.
In the meantime, I hope you will pop in to the Artist Alley on your next Con adventure. Make it a point to stop by and snag a little something from an artists you like. If you can’t buy something, still go by and say hi, and let them know you love their work. Also, if you’ve seen a Con Artist that you feel like deserves a little extra exposure let us know in the comments below or email me. I’m always on the look out from awesome art.