Saturday, July 5, 2008

Illustration Conference v2

(Empire State Building with unidentified woman flipping me the peace sign)

Ah, the start of the conference. Here goes.

The Roadshow was the big happening and one for which I was gearing up. The Roadshow is an event where art directors and art buyers from the New York area are invited to meet artists who have set up space to show their work and promote their services. It's like a mini-trade show.

Setup was at 4pm and the show began at 5pm, with art directors walking in around 5:30pm. I took my material to the Grand Ballroom from my 4th floor room and set up my half of a black-shrouded 2-person table. I met my "neighbors" -- three very nice guys. Then, dressed to kill, behind freshly-pressed brochures, tearsheets, knock-out business cards, and a portfolio consisting of 16 of my latest and greatest, I waited for the action to begin.

Mark Heflin, the man behind the American Illustration-American Photography annuals, and organizer of the Roadshow, welcomed everyone and made a few announcements. In the Ballroom, music played over the sound system and 2 open bars were strategically placed in the far corners of the room, one very close to my table. Banners of the sponsoring organizations -- Adobe, theispot, PRATT, and others hung along the banister of the second floor. The artists, art buyers, and people involved with the illustration industry began to walk the aisles. The goal for us illustrators was to form as many new relationships as possible, preferably with live art buyers. My result -- I made some new connections, said hello to some of my existing connections, and had an overall good response. There was a last push of people as the gates were closing, and folks were attempting to hit any table they may have missed before last-call. I already have ideas for the next Roadshow.

The opening ceremonies were July 3, and I will post about that very soon.

Tuesday, I did some more sightseeing. I hung out at St. Patrick's Cathedral for a bit, got some religion, and then made my way to Rockefeller Center. There is an observatory at the top of the building called the Top of the Rock. In Branson, where I live dangerously close, that is the name of a Jack Nicklaus-designed restaurant/golf course that sits atop a picturesque bluff. In New York, it's the top of Rockefeller Center. I purchased a Rock/MOMA combo ticket, which allowed me to make my way to the observatory and get into the Museum of Modern Art, which I will do next week.

The waiting process was interesting as the history and historical significance of the building was explained in videos. Coincidentally, after the last one, it was my line's turn to board the elevator which would take us up 67 floors in less than 1 minute. In we go. Lights go down. Through the glass ceiling, we see the shaft is lined with blue lights that converge into the distance and fly by as we ascend. Projected on this ceiling are snippets of shows relevant to the building, like Bonanza and Chevy Chase opening Saturday Night Live.

Floors 67-70 are the observation decks, fenced in with 8-10 ft-tall plexiglass barriers to keep us from stumbling over the edge. The view is predictably amazing. A 360-degree view of Manhattan -- curvature of the earth and all.

If I'm away from my studio for more than a few days, I have learned to bring a few art supplies with me. It's better to have some on-hand if a client calls than having to scramble obtaining supplies. I know this is probably a rare practice among illustrators, but I make it a point to be both accessible and available as much as humanly possible. I love what I do and want to be able to help out whenever I can. Even at the Top of the Rock, where I tested the cell-phone signal by checking my voicemail.

As it turns out, an assignment was waiting for me on the other end. A large enough one to necessitate my finding the nearest Best Buy to purchase an inexpensive Epson all-in-one printer/scanner/copier. Coupled with my laptop and Wacom tablet -- which I also thought to bring along for just such an occasion -- half of my hotel room has been now transformed to an office/studio. I wouldn't have it any other way.

The people I talked to got a kick out of it.

More to come.

1 comment:

Flydesign said...

Sounds like a great time your having Allan! I often thought about what you would see from the top of the Empire State Building. Putting in the little detail of seeing the curve of the earth triggers the imagination.

I have also learned to have an artist kit on hand. I usually like to work watercolors for fast sketches and also a water brush, which is fun to work an ink sketch around for shading. Now I have a laptop that I take wherever I go, my wife jokes with me (I think) that I even sleep with the thing, haha. Oh well, keep the post coming and take care.

Matt