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!
A new painting from my Ankaris Project to share, fresh from scanning and the latest ready to be framed and shipped off to Illuxcon.
There will be limited edition prints of this painting available soon on both paper and canvas so stay tuned.
For those interested, I get my paintings scanned by the guys at Cie-Elle Digital Imaging who use a Cruse Scanner. Their scanning and printing quality is fantastic so check them out if you live in Sydney.
Detail 2 gives you a good idea of how awesome the scan is!
Another update with the next Interzone cover for issue 251.
This painting started life as a small watercolour sketch, became a small oil painting study (as seen in Spectrum 20) and has progressed here as the cover painting for Interzone’s next issue and doubles as larger study for a final painting that is currently in progress. The format may be different but I wanted to see the structure at full size and alter the colour and lighting a bit for more air.
The final Levitation painting will be in my favorite wide format at 46″ x 18″ (116cm x 46cm).
Just a news update to let you all know what I’ve been up to lately. Just before Christmas last year I finished off two concept paintings for the Maze Runner film. I was slated to keep going on this but production so far hasn’t needed me.
I was also asked to finish off two new Wolverine concept paintings by Fox which was great. The moment the film comes out I’ll have my Wolverine concept art up. One other film job I can’t mention has also crossed my desk these last coupe of weeks.
I’m working.. (slowly) with Marianne de Pierres on a short graphic novel project called Sentients of Orion: The Hue, that I’m itching to get back onto.. Sorry Marianne, we’ll get there!!
On the scifi side I’m painting two interior illustrations for Interzone magazine and working on an oil painting tutorial for ImagineFX magazine.
The Concept Art course that I was going to help teach at Randwick TAFE didn’t pan out, but an even better course looks to have risen from North Sydney TAFE. So a good chance I’ll be teaching there later this year and into 2014. This course will be a more intensive program of Illustration for the Film, Games and Publishing industries.
In amongst all of that I have repaired roofs, dug drainage and replaced pipe work and finally.. finally found the source of my studio flooding!!
Anyway, enough of that.. here is the cover image for the GN project I’m doing with Marianne. Enjoy!
Quick post today just to show the oil painting study for a larger canvas I’m working on. Inspiration in equal measure from Chris Foss and Ralph McQuarrie. This scene also takes place within the Sky Burial world.
Rendezvous . Study . 21″ x 8.5″ . Oil on Canson paper