The Worlds Beyond Gallery, at Alamo City Comic Con, October 2016, originated from the idea that illustrators are showing more and more at media driven shows as the traditional conventions are not providing enough sales to make the shows viable for artists. Also, media shows with their larger attendance numbers bring a newer audience to the artist that might recognize their work but allow them to place a name with the art and buy directly from the artist. Artist alleys typically tend to have more comic centric art and to differentiate the illustrator we looked for a way to elevate the art and make it more of an experience within the larger show. The gallery/vendor setup not only allows the artist to show more of their higher end art as well as sell prints and other materials to the audience who is looking to own the art at a lower price point. Having six artists gave the space to have a larger social media audience to promote the gallery.
Talking to the artists we heard that being placed in the Artist Alley it is hard to differentiate yourself and your art. Artists try to design signage in the space behind their table that is typically vertical with banners of varying sizes but with a large concentration of artists trying to create unique statement it ironically starts to lose visual impact because of too much visual noise. The gallery takes away from the need to have so much signage as the audience walks through and knows what type of art will be the focus of the space. The artist still has to grab the attention of the attendee but they are walking through the gallery already partially engaged as they know what they are there to see. With a destination within the show we have seen that attendees will be going to the gallery for a specific artist but will stay and look at the other artists as well.
There was a specific type of artist we were looking to promote. The focus was on creator-driven art and with each artist chosen we accomplished this well. The artists were Brom, Todd Lockwood, Peter Mohrbacher, Ruth Sanderson, John Picacio, and Jeffrey Alan Love. From books to card sets, each was working on their own projects but also had a large body of work spanning Magic cards to book covers.
The space was set up with four artists on the interior walls and two in the center. Each artist had the same amount of table space as well as wall space. The outside walls had large decals with the name of the gallery and images from each of the artist. The flow of the space worked nicely but there was more traffic on the side of the cube that was next to the walkway. Placement of the cube was near the entrance of the convention and next to artist alley.
From a promotion standpoint there was promotion on facebook mostly. Alamo City Comic Con had a page for the artists, there was a facebook event page as well as a group page. We tried to post once a week something about each artist on both pages at times when the most viewers were reading facebook. Doing this again we would ask our artists to promote more on their social media and share the trailers leading up to the event.
Peter Barnstom made three videos for us, including the wrap-up video below, showing the event itself: