WOW! I did not expect there to be quite so many Steampunks at FaerieCon.
Okay firstly - don't get excited. I'm not much of a picture taker, so there are no photos from FC in this post. Sorry folks - you'll have to make do with your imagination!
I live in Maryland, about an hour from where FC was being held this year at the lovely Hunt Valley Marriott (a hotel that is used to Cons and weirdos so their attitude towards all was helpful and accepting). We arrived at about 1:00 pm , checked into our lovely room, and set off to find friends.
After checking in with the con and getting our V.I.P. passes (which never failed to impress people - that was funny) we ventured off to set our stuff down at the Tate and Company booth. Tate & Co. is owned by my good friend Joe Tate. Joe retails and wholesales all things fantasy related. He also does some manufacturing, and lastly but not leastly also happens to be my very capable artist agent. I did several signings at Joe's booth over the weekend, so we called his spot our "homebase" for the duration of the Con.
This year I did not wear nor even bring my famous top hat & goggles with squirrel, or wear my lovely weather beaten leather trenchcoat. The general result was that many people did not recognize me or had to do a double take to realize it was me. Lesson learned - I cannot attend these things without the hat. (I have been so preoccupied with the upcoming gallery show I just wasn't feeling like dressing up - but I clearly forgot thats a hanging offense in the Con world. I'll bring the damn hat next time.)
At 3:00 I was part of a Steampunk Fairies Panel along with Thomas of Brute Force Studios (accompanied by his friend Mark) and Joseph Corsentino (Time of the Faeries). Attendance to our panel was great. We had full house with at least a dozen people forced to line the back walls. I can't say that we really stayed on topic. The conversation traveled to general steampunk rather then staying focused on fairies. We heard a lot about Thomas's steampunk creations, and I shamelessly promoted my upcoming solo show of course. Joseph had to leave us early to conduct a demonstration,but the time that he was present was lovely, and he had a lot of wonderful things to share about steampunk fairies.
I did touch on Second Life and steampunk briefly. So many people into steampunk are looking for community and experiences. So many of them have little to no access to these things where they live. SL gives them that access. I would LOVE to discuss this more. Maybe even on another panel or as a presentation etc. I'm a Second Life enthusiast and defender. It's not for everyone I get that. But SL is very misunderstood and maligned. But I'll save more on that for another post - hopefully later this week.
Moving on. After the panel we putzed around and found our friends, various other artists and vendors we know. I got to meet Gary Lippincott who is an artistic hero of mine. I think he may now officially be my new favorite person. He was awesome!! So personable and warm and kind and down to earth. Yup - definitely a cool cat.
Friday night was the Good Faeries Ball which we did not attend but all accounts were that it was wonderful. We did however go out to dinner with a few friends and had a ridiculously raucously good time. Ash Evans (a fellow artist and very good friend of mine) and I had a little too much to drink and by evening's end were planning to go on the road as the fantastic comedy duo Ash Squared. (Get it?) Yeah - we'll keep ya'll appraised of tour dates.
On to Saturday. Let's see - I was definitely a bit hungover I'll admit but I suspect it was less the wine and more just LIFE. The past few months have been so busy - I've been in a race against my fatigue to get all the work I have finished in time for the exhibit. My body decided it was shut down time and threw me back into idle. I decided just to go with it and that was the best plan. A few days of downtime enjoying myself was just what was needed.
Saturday's signing went well but was a bit short. Visitors were treated to sneak peeks of three originals I brought with me. It was awesome to see their reactions to these new works. I met several wonderful people - some of whom are aspiring artists and some who follow me on twitter or facebook.
One thing I'd like to say is if you follow my blog or twitter or facebook please by all means introduce yourself! I'd love to hear from you. Several people mentioned they follow me or keep up with my work, yet this was our first interaction. I don't bite folks (except by written request and only with the proper release forms filled out) so get in touch!
Saturday night was the Bad Faeries Ball. My sister and her husband came up to attend and we had a great time being silly with all our friends. Having learned my lesson the night before I stayed nicely sober, and avoided the morning after consequences.
Let's see Sunday I did another signing and then we packed up to head back home.
All in all we had the best time this year we've ever had at FaerieCon. We really enjoyed ourselves. The new venue was awesome, and really conducive to creating a community "vibe" while we were there. Attendance seemed really good, and con-goers were in a great mood and really friendly (trust me this isn't always the case at Cons sometimes the vibe is grumpy and disgruntled - FC organizers did a great job meeting con attendees needs, and hence they were really relaxed and pleasantly enjoying themselves).
The I <3 Steampunk shirts we brought were really well received. (They are being taken over soon by Off World Designs and will be more widely available - yay!) and again the amount of Steampunkers there was really amazing to me. It seems that the integration of magic and fantasy into Steampunk is defintely catching on. The Heliograph has an interesting blog and poll about this very topic. Go cast your vote!
Lastly we made a number of exciting connections at the Con - that may result in some very cool projects and collaborations in the future. Nothing I can get into yet. But don't worry I'll let you know when the time comes.
I'm interested in your thoughts! If you were at the con or not - please post a comment if you are so inclined.