So, might I say, this last year of my life and these last eight weeks of this year have been more invigorating, unexpected and productive than ever before. To only thank the trials of my medical history,1
the dedication I put towards my education,2
the misery of my old day-jobs,3
the brilliance of Special Effects
the energy of Infected Mushroom5
, the magic of Vitamin B,6
the existence of Bananas7
and the unhealthy nature of my work-a-holicism8
would be an understatement.9
Not to give away all of my secrets, but my advocation for creative progress, self-employment and being awesome does have a tendency to get the better of me, these days, so I‘ll include a little more than just a few links if it helps inspire anyone to join me for future events or assist any other equally aspiring creatives in the effort of discovering more locations to target and invade.10
[Note: Click any of the pictures below for full photo-gallery]
Eight weeks ago, on Friday, August 7th, I had my first-declared vending space at First Friday
in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Whoever hasn‘t been to Phoenix‘s First Friday
event, be sure to go now
. It‘s a monthly-run art walk and block party provided by the creative downtown community and the non-profit organization, Artlink Phoenix
. No matter whether it‘s pouring rain or shining the very fires of Hell down upon us, it is always celebrated on the - you guessed it - first friday of every month. Ranging from 15th Avenue and McDowell Road
to 7th Street and Jefferson Street
, you’ll find art galleries lining the streets, artists and artisans of all mediums selling their work, street-performers and musicians providing entertainment, live music on almost every street corner, campaigners and activists of all kinds crawling the sidewalks, random strangers asking for hugs, everyone trying to send a message of some
manner or sort; and the list goes on. Of course not all months are always so active, but in my experience, I think I can personally recommend Fall for being the best of all seasons to attend. There really isn‘t any place to start in-particular, but personally I‘ve always favored the corner of Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street
, just off the Light Rail Platform
I have already attended this event many times before and often find myself going to simply enjoy the adventures of dressing in my very best11
and taking my DSLR camera out musician-hunting.12
To reiterate, however, this was my first time actually selling art at my very own First Friday table
, which I can assure you does add a different flavor to the night. The space that I received was provided by the gentleman, TJ Jordan found at Revolver Records
, a record shop13
located on the south-west corner of East Roosevelt Street and North 2nd Street
. There I met this amazing soap-maker named Kelly Barnes
, who runs her very own business, Kelly’z Sudz
, selling hand-made soaps cast into shapes often mistaken for mouthwatering chocolates and cakes. ..Seriously, she has some pretty funny stories to tell on the correlation. There, she quite literally saved me from the wrath of a monstrous rainstorm under the shelter of her blue canopy tent, and soon following, the night went from heavy rain to clear, evening skies and the perfect temperature of air for an event that quickly became very
I met so many awesome people, shared my work with all the more, passed out hugs, made friends, made contacts and was quite literally off to an unexpectedly wonderful start for the next five weeks.
That same week, I made contact with the wonderful Suzanne Woodford, one of the owners of the One Oh One
Gallery and coordinator of the monthly Downtown Mesa block-party event, 2nd Friday Night Out
. Not even 24 hours later, my spot was guaranteed and August 14th’s Second Friday became my next event. The gallery and celebration is located on the south-west corner of West Main Street and South McDonald
in Downtown Mesa, right next door to The Nile Theater
and a location that I can now
validly state is home to the end of the newly extended and established, eastern Valley Metro Light Rail
- a thankful resource for providing pretty easy access to all future Downtown Mesa events from hereon out. During this particular month, the heat was awful and the Light Rail was still under-construction, so with not being as easily accessible, uncomfortably temperatured and clearly still a bit young in activity, it was admittedly a bit slow. There was still a small selection of other artists, crafter, live music and food vendors crawling the streets, however, and amazingly enough, what I lost out for in profit was made up for in social networking. That evening I left Downtown Mesa with what soon-followed to be a space at Mesa‘s mid-September weekend event, Main Street Night Market
, an Artist Alley table at October‘s pop-culture convention, Comic & Media Expo
, and another Artist Alley table at January‘s anime convention, Taiyou Con
. My attendance, over all, definitely paid off.
Main Street Night Market
led week number three on Saturday, August 22nd. With as dead as 2nd Friday Night Out
was the prior weekend accompanied by the fact that this was an entirely new
event, I didn‘t quite know what to expect, but the new South Mesa Drive and East Main Street Light Rail Platform definitely made its mark. From 6pm to an easily unintentional 11 o‘clock, Downtown Mesa celebrated the expansion of the new Valley Metro Light Rail
with tables of artists, artisans, photographers, craftsmen and bakers selling their work; fine art illustrators with their easels up, expressing their skills live; open gallery showings, live music, street performers, quality food and art appreciators scattered throughout. This event was extremely
enjoyable, and I thank it‘s primary coordinators, David Crummey, Amy del Castillo
[Lulibell Toy Bodega
] and Suzanne Woodford [One Oh One
& 2nd Friday Night Out
] for starting the trend. With as successful as it was, I can only hope to experience further Main Street Night Market events in the future.
As if First Friday, Second Friday and Main Street Night Market weren’t already unexpected happenstances enough, week four really did catch me entirely off-guard. Almost right after Main Street Night Market, I got an email from my good friend Justin Cox regarding the video game, arcade and console-gaming convention, Game On Expo
. He had invited me to vend with him at a Vendor’s Booth and Gamer’s Garage Sale Space that he was already sharing with a few other awesome people that following weekend. For those who haven’t heard of Game On Expo
, it is a brand new, first-year, 3-day Convention that was held from Friday, August 28th to Sunday, August 30th at the Mesa Convention Center
in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. To be specific, the location took place on the south-east corner of East 3rd Place and North Center Street
in building A.
..For being a newborn convention, wow, was it a hit. With crowded isles of gamers ranging from toddlers to seniors, classic console systems and game cartridges on almost every vendor’s table, popular guests from all over the country and tournaments from a wide variety of games, this even was seriously heaven for any retro-fanatic. I skipped out on Friday due to being bit during a nearby zombie invasion,15
but after a quick recovery, that Saturday, August 29th and Sunday, August 30th were a blast. With not yet having any pop-culture game-art printed or publicly available,16
I really can say that I did surprisingly well. In addition to that, I also made a lot of new friends and contacts at this event17
along with getting some really epic pictures to share - as can be seen above. This convention was a very good experience, and you can be sure to see me at next year’s event, without a doubt.
The same week that I had been contacted about an open First Friday space in downtown Phoenix, I was also contacted about an open wait-list table for Phoenix’s Saboten Con
, a four-day anime convention hosted by Money-Paw Entertainment
and running from Friday, September 4th through Monday [Labor Day], September 7th. When I had requested to be added to the waiting-list back in May, not for a second did I actually think that it would pay off, but who would have guessed. After immediately following my reception of the offer, I had my table reserved, paid for and guaranteed a spot at the largest Anime Convention in the state of Arizona. This year the convention was hosted at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel
, located on the north-west corner of East Van Buren Street and North 3rd Street
, in - you guessed it - Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Compared to Phoenix Comicon, this convention was admittedly quite a luxury, adding a particularly warm atmosphere to the entire Vendor Hall with comfortably dimmed lighting, carpeted floors, a bit more friendly aura and a much-less corporate-based quality to the entire event.18
There I ended up getting a decently placed Artist Alley table - to be specific, table A08 - with pretty good traffic, lots of creative activity and the company of a great many amazing artists nearby.
To name a few that I was granted the honor of exchanging information with, I was a nearby-neighbor to the intense goth-punk-styled digital painter, Geistrock
; the skilled cartoonist and pop-culture illustrator, James Valle
]; the talented digital painter and character artist, Ni Zhenghe
; the brilliantly, culturally-inspired, traditional acrylic painter, Sita Navas
[Retro Nerd Studios
]; and the impressive, traditional ink and watercolor painter, Suemei Mar
]. Definitely all being profusely talented and inspiring creatives, I highly recommend checking out all of their work and meeting any of them in-person, if granted the chance.
Following the event, I left The Sheraton with a pretty decent income, a number of new contacts, a few art trades, many entirely sold-out or low-count prints and a daringly expanded, 8x8" Deluxe Artist Alley Corner-Booth for Saboten Con 2016 - space 608, to be specific. This year’s turn out ended with a Unique19
attendance of 6745 and a Turnstile19
attendance of 20,983; only expected to be all the bigger next year.20
..Challenge accepted. ..I’m excited, aren’t you?
So five weeks running, we’ve experienced three different city events, two conventions and have finally
reached week six - the point where we start to fall back into regular monthly rotations. This week, going for a round two, 2nd Friday Night Out
in Downtown Mesa was blessed with a mildly less prone-to-melting temperature and the gift of the new Light Rail
extension. Compared to the dead event that was in August, September was shockingly more energized. Not even grazing last month’s weak attendance and a little more closely compared to First Friday‘s level of activity during a mild month, certain roads were actually crossed off for larger crowds, the live music was far more involved and organized, street performers were more common and over all the activity was pretty decent. In addition to that, this evening I also did make a few new contacts, got a few pictures taken and actually found myself at the center of an interview.21
This was undoubtedly a level of liveliness inspired by the new light rail extension in addition to the progressively dropping temperature. I’d like to think the differences shown before the light rail extension compared to after read very well for future events, but only attendance can tell.
Now with my list of post-Saboten-Con commissions all completed and mailed out, product-stock checked, new order of art prints in the process of being filled and this essay-long article finally
written and publicly posted;22
it’s time to get illustration-crazy. for the next few weeks, I will continue working myself to death under my progressively growing ‘Graphite Ghibli’ Series & ‘Fanatic Tribute Collection’ posters for my next convention along with multiplying my endless hunt for new events and vending opportunities. ..Speaking of new events, we may as well speak a little more plainly by this point, shall we not?
To clarify, I have now been guaranteed attendance with Artist Alley tables or booths for...
• Mesa’s 2015 Comic & Media Expo
[Fri 16th - Sun 18th: 2 weeks from now]
• Glendale’s 2015 Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest
[Fri 4th - Sun 6th]
• Mesa’s 2016 Taiyou Con
[Fri 15th - Sun 17th]
• Phoenix’s 2016 Amazing Arizona Comic Con
[Sun 14th - Tues 16th]
• Phoenix’s 2016 Phoenix Comicon
[Thurs 2nd - Sun 5th]
• Phoenix’s 2016 Saboten Con
next September and...
[Fri 2nd - Mon 5th (Labor Day Weekend)]
I have been confirmed a few spaces for events that are still in organization-mode, including...
• Mesa’s 2016 Zap Con
in April and..
[To be Determined]
• Mesa’s 2016 Game On Expo
[Fri 5th - Sun 7th]
Besides conventions, I do otherwise intend to continue regularly attending...
• Artlink Phoenix
’s monthly First Friday
event in Downtown Phoenix and...
• One Oh One
’s monthly Second Friday Night Out
event in Downtown Mesa.
• I also have my eye on a few Third Friday
events around the valley that I intend to check out, so you can be sure to be kept informed.
Because I am fatally determined to keep myself as busy as absolute possible, I also have my name on a number of unmentionable waiting lists
for other various events, so cross your fingers and crack your fortune-cookies that there will be more material for me to announce sooner rather than later. If anyone might furthermore know of any other relatively local events that I could add to my attendance-list, know that I would be more than ecstatic to hear of them.
Considering the future, our nearest event will furthermore be October’s First Friday
event in Downtown Phoenix, going on tonight!
I will once again be sharing a space with the amazing Miss Kelly Barnes
on Revolver Records
property from approximately 5pm to 11pm
[Give or Take a few Hours]
. Following that, we have Second Friday
in Downtown Mesa going on next weekend
. You will once again be able to find me at the eastern end of the Valley Metro Light Rail
, closest to the One Oh One
Gallery on Main and McDonald
in Downtown Mesa. This will be going from another approximate 5pm to 11pm. Following that weekend
, we then have the exciting Comic & Media Expo
at the Mesa Convention Center
in Downtown Mesa, which will be running from Friday, October 16th to Sunday, October 18th. I will be reaping havoc in the Vendors Hall for the full event and will once again be presenting fancy art prints, taking post-con character-art commissions, giving out hugs and offering the gift of friendship. HuZZaH. Extremely recent news has reached my ears that my amazingly talented digital painter of a sister, Miss Alyssa Gerwig
, will also
be having a table at the event, so be sure to check us both
out on your adventures forthcoming!
...So that‘s it, I suppose. ..Twelve paragraphs later, and.. ..that‘s it
. Hehehe.. ..For now. Be sure to come visit me and my tables at any of my next events for pictures, hugs and as often as I can get them out, new artwork! If any other vendors might be equally attending any of the future events on my list, let‘s be sure to re-connect as well! Between then and now, know that I can also always benefit from a break from illustration in exchange for some graphic design, web design or photo-work, so consider my freelancing services OPEN
! ...Until after Comic & Media Expo
, then? Let‘s do this.