Updated: Apr 30
Happy Spring everyone! For today’s blog, I’ll be sharing my experience, shotgun thoughts and reflections as a Sakura Con attendee and art show volunteer this year. The writing isn’t very formal and a bit choppy but is more so an example of my immediate thoughts. Hope you find it enjoyable or at the very least somewhat informative! :)
Began on a Thursday, woke up early-ish that day to help. It was a little weird because this year the convention staff was in charge of setting up the racks so my first shift was really easy. But even so, arranging my pieces for display is still a tiring process both mentally and physically. It’s pretty normal for me before any art event that I stay up pretty late mostly due to nerves and adrenaline but after I finished setting up, I wandered around the building to get myself familiar with the space.
Friday was the busiest day for me. I put together my final touches on my art space and spent most of the day hanging at the art show doing bag checks. I really enjoy the job because the con basically comes to me now. As I get older I feel like I've seen most things already so when I'm checking in bags I get to enjoy all the amazing cosplayers that come through and some of the cool new merch they carry with them. Plus it's nice to have a main base because I definitely don't have the energy to do con like I used to do in my 20s. On my breaks I can go see everything else that I want to see. It's not for everyone but it definitely works with the things that I enjoy about Con. After a long day at the show and a couple panels later, I went to the rave and saw Super Square. For those who don’t know, they are an EDM band that gave my art a chance a few years ago during a time when I was still exploring myself as an artist. It was so much fun but I ended up going to bed around 1:30AM to be back at the con at 9AM. Admittedly, it probably wasn't the best idea because I woke up late the next day but it was totally worth it to see a group that had supported me during the early stages of my art journey. But to be fair, I think I made up for it later.
As expected, Saturday started out rough but ended pretty well. Because I was up late, naturally it started a domino effect. I went into the day very tired from the day before but I finally arrived, fashionably late. Luckily my shifts were very short that day. So on day 2 I tried to spend as much time at the artist alley observing what other artists are making these days. Unfortunately I couldn't get to it all because the space was so huge this year. I really wish I got to spend more time there. Doesn't help that the con was spread between two buildings. But like I've said before, I feel like I've been to anime conventions so much, I don't feel like I missed out on a lot. If anything it probably saved me money. But if I could go back, I'd probably want to visit the arcade space instead. After my adventures, I finished the last few hours of my shift and went home earlier than I would've to make up for the lack of sleep I had the past few days.
I woke up feeling more refreshed and since it was the last day. I arrived at the con bright and early to help with take down. It made me so happy that a couple of my pieces sold in addition to some of my smaller items. During take down, I got to connect with some of the other artists that were there. It was great chatting because we got to reflect on our experience together while also helping each other come up with ways on how we can improve next time. To any aspiring artists out there, remember to always move with compassion and never be too good for information.
After I packed up, I did more wandering but remained in the Summit building which is the newer building at the convention. I ended up getting some cool stuff at the exhibition hall, bought some snacks and watched some premieres at the anime theater. Some shows I'm more excited for than others, for sure. Afterwards, I went out for dim sum to celebrate and closed the book that is Sakura Con 2023.
I always feel so honored when someone feels like my art can serve them in some way but this weekend, I realized I don’t like it when people get to know me in person. In a lot of ways I wish I started making art in a Banksy sort of way but I’m not quite that cool. Even though as a consumer of art, I love getting to know the artist so that I know who I’m investing into but also, I project my own ideas of art consumption sometimes. I worry meeting me in person skews the art I make especially at events where I’m often overwhelmed or tired. So when people meet me at these events to get to know me, I feel like it’s a terrible place to do that because I don't always have the spoons to absorb the conversation. It's probably just an insecurity I have but I'd hate for a terrible interaction to be a reflection of who I am as an artist. I feel like the art I make is a better reflection of who I am than when I speak, I can only hope that the viewer understands.
For this con in particular, I already know that I didn't sell as many pieces as last year and I was hoping for an improvement. I was a little worried that I may have priced my art too high and because I've been taking art classes and apprenticeships, my art style is going through a change. I don't think there's anything wrong with that but I also understand that as an artist, there is often a learning curve before all the knowledge becomes processed and actualized into my own art.
When I was chatting to the other artists on the last day, one of them was asking about my frames and it occurred to me that no one really knows about my framing process or knows the quality of the frames I use. What I need to do is make a video of the process. Or just a video of my process in general. With that being said, I’m looking forward to streaming on Twitch again. This time around, I plan to not take it so seriously. I've noticed that’s a bit of a flaw of mine.
Thanks for reading through my reflection of this year’s Sakura Con! Crossing my fingers that I can come back again next year.
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