One Year, Some Months, and Many Thanks

When I look back at the past year, it keeps going back not to early January, but to attending my first Illuxcon in September 2014. It was my first real introduction to the community of Fantasy Art/Imaginative Realism, and I went not quite knowing what to expect, but hoping it would be the beginning of something, a lead to the way forward, whatever that was. I had some cobbled-together notion of what being a 'Professional Freelance Fantasy Artist' was supposed to be like-- very tough, with long hours and a lot of uncertainty. But I was very determined, or at least I had enough drive to just surpass the similarly large quantities of anxiety lurking just beneath the surface.

I distinctly remember climbing the stairs to the second floor of the Allentown Art Museum at Illuxcon and feeling a sense of wonder wash over me as I saw the dozens upon dozens of paintings hanging on the walls. They seemed to almost radiate with an internal glow, and there was something about the space itself which had a magic about it-- one which cannot be owed just to the art, but by a greater degree to the people there.

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Illuxcon 2015 Reflections

I've been back home from Illuxcon for a few days now and have still been thinking about it a lot. Going there this past week marked 1 year since my introduction to the fantasy illustration community in person at my first Illuxcon last year. In some ways it feels like it's been longer than a year-- the fire of inspiration and determination from that initial introduction last fall has lasted me well. I was impassioned to grow not only as an artist but as a person, and I've spent so much of the last year focused on the next milestone I needed to get my portfolio ready for, that until now I hadn't stopped to really realize how far I have come.

I didn't realize it until I'd left, but this year I was much more focused on the people than on the art. The art was just as stunning as the year before, but I was hungry for connections with friends and to catch up with certain art directors, and it wasn't until I'd gotten home that I realized I hadn't spent as much time immersing myself in actual paintings as I might have liked to. But maybe that's what I needed-- and I certainly got it. There was a lot of vulnerability at IX last week, from artists sharing personal stories and showing personal work-- and I came prepared with the same. Every time I shared the personal story behind my Holding Back Birds painting (which I'll be posting in a few days), and was willing to be open like that, I was rewarded with someone being open and trusting with me in turn, and it was a tremendously powerful thing. I don't quite know how to express how that felt, to be leading these conversations that I was afraid to be having, and finding people light up with enthusiasm and genuineness in return.

But I know that I'm on the right path, both in my business and in my personal work, now. I'm really excited for the year to come, and I feel like the workshop I'm attending next week will only solidify that in place.

Once I get back into town, the rest of the year will be focused on commissions and wrapping up projects from this year. If you want a commission before Christmas, now is your last chance to let me know! You can find my info on that here. Otherwise, stay tuned for a bunch of stuff coming up this next month!