Artist Alley Application FAQ
How do I apply for a table?
To be placed at an Artist Alley table, you must apply during the open application window. Artist Alley applications are typically open mid-to-late April, but due to the high amount of applications we receive every year, we often close applications after a single week of opening. Though we will make announcements for when we open and close Artist Alley applications, we strongly encourage you to email us at email@example.com to be added to our application announcements list so you don't miss your opportunity! Bear in mind that, due to our selections policy, we do not accept "walk on" or emailed requests for an Artist Alley table from those who missed the application window—only applicants who submitted an application during the open window will be considered for a table or admittance to the waitlist.
Where is the Alley this year? Is it in the OCC?
The Artist Alley will be located in the KumoriMarket. There is no physical divider between artists and exhibitors, so as to encourage optimal traffic flow.
How big is the Artist Alley this year? How many tables are there?
The Artist Alley for Kumoricon 2023 will be around the same size as for 2022. We care about the variety and ability for sales for our artists and thus always try to avoid overfilling the room. Tables themselves are 6 feet long by 2 feet wide by 30 inches tall.
What comes with a table purchase?
As with previous years, each table purchase comes with a 6-foot table, 2 chairs, and 2 memberships. If additional badges are needed for assistants, up to two additional artist badges can be purchased at a rate of $50 per badge.
Is fan art allowed?
Fan art is usually allowed in the Artist Alley. Fan art is defined as prints and other, small run, artistic items that include the likeness of a character or other element of a copyrighted property, and are neither official goods nor directly compete with official goods. Any goods traditionally classified as "bootleg" (such as copies of official merchandise, media designed to compete with official items, and unofficial items that are intended to appear official or defraud) are strictly not allowed, and we actively enforce our rules against bootlegs and patrol for them.
Kumoricon's position on fan art is based on industry guidance that anime conventions have received from publishers and other anime companies. In certain cases, we may need to restrict fan art. We will disallow fan art from any specific franchise or company if the publisher has asked us, either at our 2023 event, or at any time previously, to limit it. We may also disallow fan art based on guidance from other industries, which may particularly affect video game franchises and American / non-Japanese media franchises.
Our rules around trademarks are more strict. Trademarks are a separate matter from copyright, and publishers have communicated to anime conventions the need to be more restrictive with trademarks. Trademarked material includes series names, character names, logos, and occasionally, even specific emblems, insignias, or fonts that appear in character likenesses. This means, for example, that artists cannot display series names or logos next to pieces of fan artwork, even if the fan art is an allowable piece. This applies to all trademarked brand logos, including food and drink items.
Trademarked logos, emblems, and insignias may be permitted if only used incidentally. For instance, a lanyard printed with the Heartless logo from Kingdom Hearts would not be allowed as the primary selling point of the lanyard is the trademarked logo. However, if a trademarked logo is a part of an established character design (for example, the Batman logo on Batman's chest, the Overwatch emblem on an Overwatch uniform, or the Mythosaur emblem on Boba Fett's shoulder) this is considered "incidental" use and may be allowed.
In previous years, major anime companies have been present at Kumoricon and are likely to be again. Any requests that they have for copyright or trademark violations will be taken with utmost seriousness upon presentation. Kumoricon will comply with any requests from US license holders.
Is there anything I can't sell?
The Artist Alley allows handmade, drawn, and printed crafts. Food (including teas or dried foods), drinks, traced art from official or non-original sources, and official merchandise are not allowed.
Any product considered "fan art" specifically disallowed for sales by their intellectual property owner(s) cannot be sold at Kumoricon 2023.
Are there age requirements?
While we do not have a minimum age for Artist Alley participants, a parent or legal guardian must sign the Artist Alley contract for each participating minor.
Can I share a table with someone?
Artists may share their table with another artist, but must submit a single application as a single table. Dual Artist tables should have the portfolios of both artists on the application and will be judged as a single unit by the jury. For shared tables, no more than two artists may apply.
Artists may not share table space with artists who were rejected or waitlisted, or who did not apply at all; this is a common tactic to avoid the jury process and cannot be used to subvert the process. If you would like to add another artist's work to your submission prior to applications closing, please contact our Artist Alley team. This includes sending a substitute artist to take over your table in the event that you have to cancel.
The original artist(s) must be present during the convention. If the original artist is not present, you will be in violation of the Artist Alley contract and will be penalized by the terms set forth in the contract. No exceptions!
How are applications handled? Is it a juried process?
As in previous years, Kumoricon's Artist Alley will continue with a jury system for the 2023 event.
The jury process will begin after applications close, with notifications going out to all applicants within a month. The jury system will be based on (in order of importance):
- Adherence to the Artist Alley rules and guidelines based on information in the application (incomplete applications are disqualified)
- Variety of products/offerings/artwork (categories of many types)
- Professionalism and completeness of portfolio
We are here to answer any questions about the process should you have them. No system will be perfect for every artist, but we built this process on feedback and will always strive to improve any system from year to year. For more information, please see our The Jury Process section.
When does registration open up?
Artist Alley applications for Kumoricon 2023 have now closed. Applications opened on Sunday, May 7, 2023, and closed early (per a 24-hour warning announcement) on Monday, May 8, 2023, due to the very high number of applications received.
Applicants should take some time to fill out the form carefully, paying attention to the email field to make sure it is not misspelled (this is a common issue). Studios/individuals who are applying can submit examples of their artwork through photos or videos of booths at prior events (this is highly preferred), DeviantArt/YouTube tutorial/websites with example art, or any online link that gives examples of at least 10 pieces of work. If you have a special exception for a specialty product, please let us know in the application.
When providing examples of your work, please do not link to sites that contain blog posts, cosplay photos, or many other things besides your work (like a Facebook page or overly text-heavy blog). Our judges want to see your work, and not have to work to find pieces.
After your application is accepted, you will be contacted by the Artist Alley team to confirm your registration and arrange payment. Responses will be provided to all applicants within a month of applications closing. Payment for the space is due within four weeks of registration links being sent. Kumoricon does not allow for refunds and transfers. In the event of an emergency cancellation, please contact our Artist Alley team.
Payments: Payments for Artist Alley tables may be made only via credit/debit card through our Artist Alley registration link. We will not take checks or cash at any time. Payment must be received within 4 weeks of a registration link being issued to the accepted artist. Once the registration link has expired, the pending artist will be notified that their application has been declined and the next applicant on the waitlist will be accepted. In the event that you need to cancel your table prior to the event, no refunds will be issued. Tables may not be transferred to another artist once an application has been accepted.
Why the strict rules about upfront payments, transfers, and refunds? In previous years, a very large number of artists reserved tables, missed many payment deadlines, were given accommodations and extensions by the Artist Alley volunteer staff, and still dropped their tables at a later date, causing much frustration for our Artist Alley volunteer staff and the waitlisted artists waiting to get into the Alley. We ask those who are interested in selling at the Kumoricon Artist Alley make that decision before the payment deadline, to make the process smoother for everyone and allow those who would like to sell the opportunity to do so with enough time to craft product for the event.
Why do I need to get a Portland Business License (PBL)? The City of Portland requires all vendors at events held within the city to have a Portland business license on file in order to sell. To comply with legal requirements, all Exhibitor, Artist Alley, and Small Press vendors are required to have a PBL to sell at Kumoricon. Temporary PBLs are available from the Portland Office of Management & Finance. Please keep in mind it takes about two weeks on average to process your payment and provide a number.
Tips for applications
We will be checking for violations on the first pass, including, but not limited to:
- Applications violating the stated rules of the Artist Alley. Notable rules that are more commonly pushed/broken include:
- Logos of official licensed properties
- Traced/copied official artwork, or very slightly altered work (splatter trace of official art)
- Very slightly altered official merchandise
- Incomplete applications. No names, no websites, no examples
The jury process
Applications are accepted based on the following criteria:
- Following the Alley rules: Many applicants will be rejected for not reading and understanding the Alley rules. See the section above for more details.
- Differentiation of product: Our #1 goal is to have a diverse Artist Alley, with representation from crafts, 2D art, clothing, trinkets, jewelry, photography, and unique offerings. We look for a good mix of artists who have been a great part of the Alley in the past and new artists (both new to Kumoricon or selling in Alleys in general). The highest concentration of applications comes from the 2D prints art category and as such is one of the more competitive categories and many artists are wait-listed in this designation. This is not a reflection of the art itself, but the sheer number of these artists means that many will not make the first pass and may be wait-listed.
- Professionalism and preparation: We love artists who are enthusiastic, bring a good amount of work, and are raring to go for the Alley! Applications with only a small few pieces of work or people who are unprepared and might only have a very sparse table at the event are less likely to be accepted.
We have no preference at Kumoricon for any style of artwork over another; 2D prints, original art, painters, photographers, crafters, jewelry makers, trinket makers, and clothing craftspeople are all welcome in the Alley and we take great care (it is in fact our #1 goal) to have a very balanced amount of each type of product in the Alley, providing the best selection for our attendees!
Why was I not accepted?
There are many reasons applications are not accepted, or are waitlisted, for the Artist Alley, including (but not limited to):
- Incomplete applications / portfolio links are broken or require logins—this is common on Instagram, so it is not advised that you use Instagram as a platform for your portfolio (not all of our jurors have Instagram logins, and if they can't access your portfolio, they cannot score it!). If you use Google Drive, make sure you have edited permissions/sharing for "anyone with the link" to see your drive.
- A significant number of artwork items in violation of our trademark policy: the most common being character or series names directly written or drawn on the artwork or products in question.
- Misspelled/improperly configured emails: If we can't contact you, we can't approve your application—it is highly advised that you take advantage of the "secondary email" option in the application for that reason. Make sure your email spam filters will not block any of our @kumoricon.org domain email addresses, as well.
- Too many examples are of a low relevance to animanga culture.
- Applied as a studio with more than two artists: Only up to two artists may share a single table.
- High volume of applications: In 2023, we received over 800, but only 140 table slots exist.
Is AI art allowed?
At Kumoricon, artwork generated mostly or entirely by artificial intelligence software is not allowed to be sold, displayed, or distributed in the Artist Alley as it goes against the spirit of manually created artwork that convention-sold art is known for. Exceptions to this rule are digital art "assistance" tools such as automatic feathering and antialiasing used within the creation of the artwork itself.