Thought it was about time I posted a review of my time at Illuxcon this year. However before I get to the actual event, I thought I would go through some of the planning and logistics involved in the lead up to the show, particularly some of the costs.
I had been selected to show at Illuxcon for three of the last four years prior to this year, one year I didn’t bother as my circumstances simply wouldn’t allow it. Getting to the US from Australia for such a show is no small thing and requires many elements coming into alignment just to get there. This is no doubt true for artists traveling from many other countries in the world.
My career has been on course correction since 2006. Whilst working on The Fourth Magi film project, my desire to paint SF paintings in oils resurfaced and around late 2007 I started setting up a basic studio in my second bedroom. I needed to just start, I needed to take that first step as they say and get on with it. I’d been putting it off for too long. The first few paintings I hacked together were garbage, which I knew would be the case, but slowly my painting technique started coming together. Those paintings were mostly landscapes and some re-paints of my existing digital work. In time I would start painting the SF I wanted to see. Sky Burial #1 was the first SF painting that actually came together.
Around that time I had read about this show called Illuxcon, dedicated to showcasing traditional SF/F work. Awesome! I had a plan. But first I needed to create the work and crawl back into some semblance of financial stability. Around mid to late 08′, the GFC hit and the film project I was working on died, so had almost every other film or tv job out there too and what funds I had saved were soon drained by existing financial commitments, tax, tax and more tax (mostly me avoiding them.. take heed kiddies, do your taxes!!) and I was in the red. Suffice to say it was and has been a challenge getting back to some sort of even keel.
So getting to Illuxcon has not been easy to say the least. It goes without saying of course that the artistic side of the coin must also be strong enough!
Here is a run down of the costs involved:
1. Cost of show admittance.
2. Extra cost for larger wall space at ILX. I had larger paintings and needed wider wall space.
3. Painting time or in other words, funds to cover myself during the months leading up to the show where I can’t take on other work. This means monthly bills etc.
4. Scanning my art, colour corrections etc for eventual printing and digital backup should the originals get damaged.
5. Framing of the artwork.
6. Shipping in both directions. Although some paintings sold at Illuxcon, enough came back to almost equal the cost in outgoing shipping.
7. Airfare to US.
8. Accommodation in the US.
9. Cost of several prints, new business cards and post cards to hand out at the show.
10. Cost of one full size repro and framing of my painting Sky Burial #2 (to replace the original which ended up at the Spectrum Show at the Society of Illustrators).
11. Any other expenses associated with traveling.
12. Ongoing bills and costs back home whilst I’m away and for the month/s afterwards should work be absent upon my return.
The above list was something that would financially fall into place as the year went on, or it wouldn’t. Had I missed one or two jobs this year, I wouldn’t have made it to Illuxcon. It’s a delicate balance between having enough time to paint and time to work. It’s been four years of trying to get the financial and artistic balance just right so that I could get my foot onto the next stepping stone. This year I finally managed it.
My goal has been to paint SF full time and transition out of the film industry altogether. Not because I don’t like film, it’s great.. I just love painting SF more.. way more!
And Illuxcon cemented that for me this year.
In Part 2, I will talk about some of the artistic choices leading up to the show, how I planned out the wall space and how that somewhat related to what I painted and the size of what I painted. I will also touch on the shipping of art. So stay tuned!