I am back from IX 2017. What a trip!
This was the 10th anniversary for this event, created and run by intrepid co-founders Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire. For those not familiar with IX, it is a gathering of world-class fantasy artists from around the globe... who all converge on little Reading, Pennsylvania for a long weekend of crazy amazing fantastical art.
Given that I hadn't been there since IlluXcon 2 & 3, I had much catching up to do. First off, I was one of 130 lucky artist to snag a Showcase table -as these literally sold out in minutes! So I came prepared with a table display to show off my wares for Friday and Saturday evenings. As I hadn't tabled in years, it was a bit of a scramble to figure out "how do I table again?" But I think I got a decent display together in the end. I was certainly glad that I chose a pop-up banner as my backdrop rather than pro panels or other more elaborate setups (though, don't get me wrong, these looked great from other artists!) as my table setup and tear-down was super smooth. No little thanks owed to my husband and "art roadie" Chris.
I spent the lead-up to the Showcase nights, hanging out at the Main Show, ogling at the gorgeous original oil and acrylic paintings for sale from some of the biggest names in my industry. I was also lucky enough to receive advice and encouragements from many of these kind and generous folks. I actually didn't find time to make it to any of the seminars or classes this year, but from what I heard they were useful and interesting to those who did.
Fast forward to Friday night, first night of the Showcase. 5:15pm we loaded our plastic crates from the car to the ballroom and joined the bustle of other artists who were setting up shop. By 6:00pm we were all setup and ready to duck out for a quick bite before the madness. 8:00pm we were back at the table and ready for the doors to open.
Night #1 was a frenzy of people and art. I'm grateful to for Chris' help manning the table, as it allowed me to do some laps around to see all of the other artists and amazing art. My highlights there were getting to buy some prints from other artists whom I admire. My favorite purchase was a set of three space owl prints from Melissa Gay. The night flew by in whirlwind of socializing, sales, and so many kind words from the people who stopped to chat. It was wonderful to have such great booth neighbors namely: Benjamin Davis, Christine Skelly, and Jeszika Le Vye, all of us super different styles, but by the end of our time together we felt like art family.
Night #2 was a bit lower key from a crowd perspective. The highlights for me were visits by illustration masters: Donato Giancola, Dave Seeley, Scott Fischer, and Howard Lyon. All of whom had generous advice and encouragement to offer. The final cap on the evening was winning a gorgeous framed girl and owl print from neighbor Jeszika Le Vye in a mailing list drawing she was doing. The night ended in a mixer in the hotel lobby that may have included Jon Schindehette as a banana, zombies, and other costumed shenanigans. After this amusing and fitting wrap-up we headed to bed feeling like zombies ourselves.
The next day we bid our farewells and packed up the car and started the 3-hour drive back to Northern VA, exhausted but satisfied. I feel energized for a full year to come. There is no doubt in my mind that IX is where it is at for sheer enthusiasm and community in the realm of fantasy and science fiction art. Until next year!
Photos from the event: