Author Topic: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave  (Read 4230 times)

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Offline hieis_girl1

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Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« on: September 03, 2013, 03:13:43 pm »
So now that Kumoricon is over for the year, Jen and I would LOVE to hear everyone's opinions on this year's Artists Alley. The good and the bad. So please let us know!


And if you have rants to send out way, we would really appreciate it if you could give us constructive criticism about why you didn't like it, and what we could do to improve it for next year. Because it's difficult to do much with "I didn't like it" or "___ was bad/didn't work/etc" as opposed to "I didn't like ___ because ____ and you can maybe try ____ for next year."


Neither Jen or I will respond much to the comments on here unless there is a question that someone would like answered, simply because we want to know what worked for everyone and didn't work.


And please let us know if you were one of the Artists that participated this year, too!
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Offline RoriLei

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 04:11:25 pm »
I didn't really like that it was in the basement, since I couldn't get phone service it there. On Day 1 I had to leave and couldn't track down my friends who were carrying all of my stuff because they were down there. I liked it much better when it was at the Red Lion last year.

Not sure if there's much you can do to change this, but I noticed that there wasn't as many sales on Monday as there was 2012, which was a little disappointing. But I do understand this is at the artist's discretion, so I can't really complain to you about it too much.

And also, I do love the art prints, but unfortunately I don't have much space on my walls. I was hoping to find more things like pillows or t-shirts with artists' prints on them, so I think a bit more in that area would help improve it for next year.
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Offline Lysenis

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 05:07:22 pm »
The few things that got me in order of most annoying to least were:

Meadowhaven not showing day 1. Sorry I don't know about all the other artists and artisans that signed up but were denied, but that was a HUGE piss me off. I wanted a spot SOOO badly and they don't show? Slap in the face to everyone not chosen there

Quality and types of work. I saw more Artists than artisans, pretty much 2 to 1 there. Now while I understand its a "anime convention" many artisans make things for anime. I know I do. My inlays or some other works while not hugely artsy it gets pretty good.

Some of the works were not even hand made. I mean you had "Made in China" on a few things. . . Really!? Really.

Lack of credit. This is due to being underground. Sales for AA would of been MUCH higher if credit was available for vendors and dealers.

Yup pretty much my hates of this AA.

I did like the art though. The actual artists were amazing! Now yes this seems biased against the artisans but I am an artisan not an artist so I. Am more critical of other artisans than artists.
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Offline Transimage

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 09:59:42 pm »
My tablemates and I walked around for at least thirty minutes looking for Artist Alley registration this year. We were told in the email to go to the Hilton garage, but when we got there, nobody knew where to send us; instead of letting us through to the Artist's Alley, (the sign was visible a few yards past the entrance to the Exhibitors), we were turned around and sent between station to station just to find out where we needed to check in. Check-in is a simple thing, but still pretty important! I'd like it if more staff were better informed about AA next year, since this was also an issue that came up last year.

My biggest concern is that Artist's Alley was nearly indiscernible from the Exhibitors Hall this year, making it extremely difficult for AA to make decent sales. Our wares were constantly being compared to dealers' merchandise; I shouldn't even have to explain why this is a serious concern for all of us coming out of this year's Alley. Having to compete with mass-marketed items (and yes, things that are Made-in-China)sitting literally five seconds away isn't very fun! I'd really love it if we could separate Artists from the Exhibitors again, like in past years, or at least make the partition much clearer, or AA easier to access/navigate.

Another big downside was the inability to get a signal... I know a lot of artists weren't able to take payment in cards due to this, and of course it hurt their sales. I can't say I know if vendors could get a signal, but even if they could, we totally couldn't. This problem is a lot more significant when you consider that the Artists were at the very back of the garage, where the signal is weakest. The garage itself was spacious but very humid and hot, even more so because of the weather. I understand Vendors tend to get priority when it comes to certain things, but I do feel that we just weren't put in a good position this year. The back of the garage was the most hot, the most humid, with the worst reception, and on top of that, somewhat confusing to navigate. It was a problematic place to be, all things considered.

And now for the positives of the Alley this year! Once again, our fellow artists and the staff were great. Everyone was very friendly and helpful; I really appreciated that there were people going around giving us cold cups of water, and generally making sure we weren't completely dying behind our tables. The lack of bathroom access was a minor issue, but when I asked I was allowed to use the staff elevator that went to the first floor. I'm not sure if that information was made clear to the rest of the Alley, however.

The Daily Raffle didn't block up traffic this year like it did last year, as far as I know, but then again it was on the other side of the room so I wouldn't really know. One big surprise was the Artist's Raffle. It's a fun idea and we definitely enjoyed that we had something to look forward to amid the stress and chaos of the weekend. Chairs and extension cords were plentiful, as well as availability of outlets, and lack of space was never an issue. Traffic was never overly congested, and I can personally attest that badge checking to get into the area was very thorough.

In the end, I still enjoyed the weekend. It wasn't without some frustrations but overall, still a fun experience. We appreciated the opportunity to be a part of AA this year. Thanks!

Offline superjaz

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 10:04:35 pm »
Some of the stuff was nice, tho not nearly as good as past years, first time in many years I haven't bought anything.
Normally I'd get some sculpty earrings but the ones I saw were more pricey then I'd expect compared to other similar AA items I have purchased previous years.

Some things were disappointing, like looking at one booth which had hand made amine characters, then you look at the booth next to it and wait you look closer at the table of stuff,  necklace of anime characters and they have "China" stamped on the side, they are cell charms only put on a necklace, I wouldn't call it art... but thats me 

Not to sound judgmental, but just un threading the cell loop and putting it on a chain, it would be different if it was in some way changed, like making it into a hair stick or a ring.

Really after seeing that I did not trust merch from AA vendors I wasn't already familiar with.  Like I would pay extra for some hair clips that supported an AA artist for the work put into it, but I wouldn't want to pay it only to see the same clips at the dollar tree later.

Also as I heard about lot of people saying they would have to specifically request a confirmation email after submitting an AA application. I would suggest making it part of the application process to send a confirmation e-mail (not just "per request") when some one sends in a AA application, it is just the nice thing to do in my opinion, it would prevent a lot of head/heart ache later
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 06:34:46 am by superjaz »
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Offline The_Geek

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 10:31:58 pm »

And also, I do love the art prints, but unfortunately I don't have much space on my walls. I was hoping to find more things like pillows or t-shirts with artists' prints on them, so I think a bit more in that area would help improve it for next year.
I'm in this boat too, though I'd like to see patches of work mostly. There's not much you can do other than request this of the artists directly... But it would still be nice to see.
Blix's pencil cases were my saving grace, my unapologetic fangirlism aside, since I wanted to keep some integrity about buying stuff that I actually could use.
Calendars would also be nice to have around, but I think I saw someone selling those...
The lipstick sellers this year were lovely, and I can't sing enough praises about their product, but other makeup bits would be nice too.


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Offline Lysenis

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 03:43:54 pm »
What gets me us that so many are dissapointed over the lack of trinkets and such and the amount of prints there were. Add in the fact that at least 3 trinket sellers applied . . .
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Offline PaperRoxas

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 04:16:54 pm »
Being one of the artists that was located in the very back of artist alley, it was absolutely horrible. I was told that they were going to be moving fans and AC units around, which NEVER happened. We should not have to bring our own fans to keep cool.

One of the people at my booth got sick from the heat, and couldn't be at the table the full 8 hours. This NEEDS to get fixed, it's pretty much a health issue that a business could get sued for, since we're forced to run these tables, and we get no refund. My sister and I couldn't wear our costumes for more than an hour down there. The garage/basement is the WORST possible place for this to be. I heard that it was there in '07 (I didn't attend) and I heard a lot of people didn't like it, and now I can understand why. The past few years the weather has been warm/hot for Kumoricon, so the location needs to be taken into better consideration, especially when the health and well-being of the artist/attendee is at stake.

Offline ObiJay

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 04:47:39 pm »
All told, we had a spectacular time yet again. It did get a little hot and muggy, but I know the facilities folks were doing their best to get the A/C and air circulating as much as possible. It didn't help when clumps of people would just sit in front of the A/Cs and fans though, just blocking up the air for themselves.

The lack of lighting wasn't as bad as it could have been, we just supplemented our table with a couple of $11 WalMart lamps, and I know Robin/The Gorgonist actually went out and bought around 10 or so to pass around for folks that needed it. The wifi we were offered was GREAT...when it actually worked. That was really the only problem. By day 2 I nicknamed the path from our table to outside Jogger Alley as I ran outside to process cards. Fortunately, I only lost one sale from it, as someone was already buying something with their card, and the next person didn't want to wait around for their turn. Plus most people had cash. I didn't look around as much as Tare did, as I was either manning the booth, working on new pieces or making coffee runs for ourselves and friends in AA/DH, but what I saw was a nice range of stuff.

You can't always avoid the made in China stamp, as a lot of supplies have to come from somewhere, but it is a shame if it's being sold barely modified.

The only things that could use some improvement are a more robust wifi network if possible, and just a little more tweaking on the air flow. Maybe a few yojimbo to shuffle away folks that just hangout at the A/Cs fans as well. One group of folks sat in front of the one between our table and the ladies selling the wire dragons for an HOUR. That's not cool *rimshot*

Offline PaperRoxas

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 06:36:53 pm »
The only things that could use some improvement are a more robust wifi network if possible, and just a little more tweaking on the air flow. Maybe a few yojimbo to shuffle away folks that just hangout at the A/Cs fans as well. One group of folks sat in front of the one between our table and the ladies selling the wire dragons for an HOUR. That's not cool *rimshot*


I was told that they were supposed to be moving the fans around, but the very back still had no airflow. Your idea of the yojimbo's shuffling people away would be a great idea, assuming we're back in the garage again. The heat alone makes me not want to apply for AA next year.

Offline veraca

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 06:54:57 pm »
In actuality, if they could organize the whole area in the basement better that'd be great. There was a large amount of the garage not being used on the sides and the curtains were just taking up space and making the air flow worse. For this, my suggestion is keeping the registration where it is, since you need it near the door.

However, on the opposite end from this, adjust the curtains farther back. I could see behind them and saw at least 10 feet of unused space with not even storage for the con back there-- it was just open and empty. If we're going to be in the garage, let's at least make it max. If the curtains are moved back, that will allow for greater air flow. You could also theoretically, then move the DH to the far left of the entrance and pull the AA farther forward. The access to the elevator is handy, but it was also a huge blockade to the air flow.

On the plus side, I did attend in 2007 and the aisles were far more narrow then, it was much smaller and far darker. So I do give credit that we could see much better in there this year and the aisles being wider. However, a big difference was the AA not being in the DH area. If possible, could the AA be moved to a different location? The Centennial Center over on the Red Lion property seemed fine for the AA previously.

In terms of what was available at the AA, it was a nice small collection but it was also sort of lackluster- mostly because a lot of it was very large prints and I'm out of wall-space. I'd rather buy keychains, or something like Christmas tree ornament. I like making what I buy into garlands I hang in my bedroom.
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Offline Lysenis

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 06:10:27 am »
Fixing the internet is quite simple. Just get a WiFi signal booster and voila. Place it in that fishbowl room that was in the centerish of the AA and everyone gets WiFi no issue.

There should be more fans or at least more rotating fans. Also there should be a water cooler for the AA, dealers, and staff that people can chip in for water for everyone.

Lastly, more diversity!
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Offline ObiJay

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2013, 02:48:52 pm »
As a Systems and Network administrator, I can say for sure the issue definitely was not the wifi signal. It was a capacity issue. With the advent of Square credit card readers, pretty much everyone could take credit transactions. Now that is an awesome thing. However, between the exhibitors and artists all fighting over the limited slots a wifi router could handle, it got ugly during the peak business times. We'll probably have to have separate networks set up to alleviate the load. I never had a problem finding the network, even in the back of the garage, but staying connected once the day got rolling rarely happened.

Offline Valkyrie542

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 09:19:03 pm »
I really appreciate the staff for moving all the vendors and AA to the garage, there was a lot more space down there and I felt that there were a lot more tables with merch because of the fact. It was a bit hot, but it could be remedied with more fans. Also, it was awesome that there was an ATM right at the entrance, it was very helpful for when I ran out of cash.
 
I did not enjoy shopping at the Red Lion in previous years at all; the space was really crammed and everyone was shoulder-to-shoulder. And, because it was so crowded, there were fewer tables with less to offer for buyers.
 
Also, I felt that there was no issue in distinguishing AA from the vendors; people who sat at tables in booths were obviously the artists while people who were standing up with huge tables of stuff were the vendors. But, if it's really an issue of identity, I might recommend that the AA area could have brightly colored curtains for walls with an overhead sign.
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Offline Kadaashi

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2013, 07:53:38 am »
There were A LOT of nice artist tables this year. I saw some really amazing work and even got a lovely Journey magnet from someone whose table name I can't remember. :(


Anyway, I feel like space in the garage could have been utilized a little better, I felt like there were spots where another table or two could have been added to include more people. Also it would be super helpful to add a wifi hotspot (if possible) underground. This would help out a lot of artists take people's cards as payment, especially from people like me who don't even have a whole $20 to withdraw from the ATM.


My biggest thing though is please please PLEASE next year add in the artist alley form or something SOMEWHERE that people Should. Not. Sell. Homestuck. Merchandise.
This goes for other fandoms such as Welcome to Night Vale as well! I think some people are under the impression that Homestuck, owned by What Pumpkin is a large company. The reality is that they are very tiny and compared to a large companies such as Nintendo or Bethesda, selling merchandise actually hurts them.
Both What Pumpkin and Commonplace Books have asked that people do not sell merchandise. I saw a handful of tables doing this and I would prefer to not see it happen again.


(unfortunately this wont happen but, if artist alley staff see it and can do something about it that would be wonderful)

Offline MMCreations

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2013, 11:53:21 pm »
I had a wonderful time at this year's AA. The A/C units did get moved a little (though apparently not enough to keep the whole floor cool) and the hotel staff was going to try to get a water cooler and ice down there for us, but I never did see that happen after it was requested. I was impressed that AA staff came around with water to check in on the artists. Compared to the last con I attended as an artist, this one was amazing. (None of my product was damaged by rain, for one thing.)

I liked the jury process as opposed to the first come, first serve set up that several other cons have. I think that this method helps to control the overall quality of the show and helps prevent a new artist from spending money to be tied to a booth all weekend and not sell anything. I remember my first show, when I was still learning, and couldn't make back the booth fee because I wasn't ready to show and no one had interest in my art. I was crushed, poor, and missed out on the programming. This was most likely a combination of wrong audience and the fact that my skills were still developing. The thing that gets me, though, (and this is going to make some people upset, but please hear me out) is that there are actions being taken by people who didn't get in to this years show that may prevent them from getting into future shows. There are several factors as to why an artist couldn't get in or one artist was chosen over another. Space is generally the biggest one. But making wild accusations about the AA staff and making rude comments about the artist who did get in is the best way to burn bridges and make people not want to work with you. I don't get in to every show I want to get into, and as much as the little kid in me wants to shout "no fair" and "my art is so much better than all of their art" it's not a professional thing to do. I expect those kinds of temper tantrums and sour grapes from children and some teens. For my colleagues, those of us who are in the trenches together, trying to earn our living by our own hands (which is especially hard to do when there are so few shows to begin with), I would hope that professionalism would win out instead of artists trash talking each other. I am absolutely sure there are several artists who didn't get in this year, whose art is fantastic, who are also not making inflammatory posts on the forum of the very convention they hope to be a part of in the future. It was nice to get an acceptance email with two more rejections for other cons in my inbox last month, but the last thing I want to do is put myself in a position where those two cons that rejected me this year won't even consider my applications next year. I am very thankful that I did get in. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to see the art of all of my talented colleagues out here in the Pacific Northwest because there wasn't enough room for all of us. Maybe some day we'll have booths right next to each other. :)

Lastly, art is a funny thing. Some things are okay to make, while others are not. I can draw a water dragon whenever I want. Just because John Watson (name taken randomly out of the air, no offense meant to any real John Watsons out there) also draws water dragons doesn't mean that only one of us can profit off of drawing water dragons. We might even love to blend the same cobalt to sea foam green on the scales, but one person's art does not invalidate the other's. Now if I was photocopying John's water dragon on my home printer, removing his name from it, and selling it as my own, then John has every right to call his attorney and sue me. Copyright laws protect all artists, whether or not they are a single entity or a large company. The Fair Use Act protects dojinshi and other derivative works. Two big things that have been complained about people making and selling art of are Homestuck and Cthulu. Homestuck: Zodiac symbols have been around for centuries. They can't be copyrighted. Colors can't be copyrighted. Even the colors used in the comic were traditionally associated with those specific Zodiac symbols prior to that web comic ever being created. There is nothing new under the sun. If Homestuck fans are so concerned about other artists using those symbols, DON'T BUY IT. If there was no demand for something so squarely in the realm of public domain, artists wouldn't use it. Basically, Zodiac symbols and mood rings were all the rage when I was a kid, then the demand decreased when I had kids, and it's back up again now that it is also being used in a popular medium. Pictures of the trolls would be treated the same way as pictures of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, regardless that one is a multi-billion dollar industry giant and one is a very successful web comic artist. Fair Use laws would apply to both cases the same way. HP Lovecraft's work is old enough now that any Cthulu or Cthulu-like art/merch is fair use because it has entered the public domain. We can make art of octopoid monsters. We can make money off of our drawings of octopoid monsters. That's just the way it is. (I have a rant about people devaluing artists and insisting they should give their work away for free for the love of it, but this is probably the wrong forum and this post is too long.)

Anyway, I had a great time at AA this year, didn't like how hot it was, and I look forward to re-applying next year. Whether or not I get in is another question entirely. ;)

Offline Phoenixewolf

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2013, 09:45:10 pm »
AA this year was a lot more flowing and functional, imo, than it has been in the last couple years. I like the fact that it was moved to the garage. Yes the airflow was really sucky, but after 6 years of attending K*con, this is the best setup by far. As with anything new or changed, there are some issues, lack of airflow as mentioned before, cell signal ( this is a good/bad thing) I think with the lack of signal we weren't having people stop in the middle of the walkway to chat away, but I can understand that signal is necessary for the use of credit cards, etc., the lack of decent vendors was sucky too, artist alley was fabulous the artist were fantastic and I wish I had more money to spend, but the "mainstream" vendors were lacking in things that they had in the years previous, and I was really disappointed with the lack of Funimation. I walked the area 3 times before giving up and coming back another day, and this was after the Funimation sneak peek when she announced that they had stuff at their booth.
Overall I think that the AA was well done and with a few minor adjustments, majority of the issues will be solved. As always big thanks to the staff who take the time to do all this because without you guys, there really wouldn't be a K*con to enjoy.
 
 
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Offline BlackjackGabbiani

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Re: Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2013, 08:47:45 pm »
I already submitted a complaint about this but I was VERY disturbed by the fact that a vendor was selling items that mocked and derided an entire segment of the population. When I asked her why she was selling sparkly "Misandry" pins, she laughed and said that it's a joke because misandry doesn't exist.
Misandry is a serious issue, and while it doesn't have as wide an impact as misogyny, it's still very real and her attitude is far too common, resulting in the shaming and belittling of male victims of things like harassment and sexual assault. It was disgusting sexism with a terrible real-world impact, and I say that as a proud feminist. Degrading men gets us nothing, and it was disgusting to see that sort of thing treated as a joke.