"I've Got a Bad Feeling About This"
Contrary to the title of this, the first Star Wars convention by the Nerdageddon crew (and my first ever blog entry), I had a very good feeling about this. This show took place back in August 2015. With a plethora of stars, artists, cosplayers and vendors in attendance, the show was a resounding success for all involved, including myself. This was by all accounts, my first 'solo' convention appearance, with my partner Arti Shah (of Harry Potter, Guardians of the Galaxy and Attack the Block fame) for once assisting me, rather than it being the other way around.
Together, we'd made many convention appearances in 2015. But all had been for her film work signings. I would create convention exclusive artwork (and from that, prints) that were [usually] related to her film work and I would often be 'bolted' on to her signing table. A sort of 2-4-1 if you will. But along came Nerdageddon (whom we'd worked with before) with an offer I couldn't refuse: my very own display of artwork, alongside some fantastic Star Wars actors and artists, including two people who brought one of my favourite fictional characters of all time to life; original Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse (who has since retired from the convention circuit) and Darth Vader sculptor Brian Muir. It is safe to say that I am truly smitten with the convention scene.
In 2015, Comic Conventions were a relatively new phenomenon for me and whilst I'd been aware of them for some time, I'd never attended one pre 2011 (bar the first Star Wars Celebration Europe, back in 2006). Then, one mild Thursday night in August 2011, I randomly bumped into Australian / Canadian voice-over actor Scott McNeil outside a London pub. Being drawn to his, what at the time seemed like a bizarre appearance, I decided to strike up a conversation (having no clue who he actually was). Shortly after, we'd both affirmed our love of beer and Transformers (who knew the two go hand-in-hand?). I decided to leave the group I was with (all of whom were, by this point, making preparations to go home anyway) and go on a 'pub crawl' with my new found friend.
As the conversation continued, I learned that he was in the UK to attend a Transformers convention called Auto Assembly (2000-2015) in Birmingham as a guest speaker and signer that Sunday. He suggested I come up and visit, so I did, and my how my eyes were opened. I quickly learned about 'Artists Alley' and how guest signings work. I found myself surrounded by stalls and vendors selling all of my favourite things (I'm a collector and lover of all things Transformers, Star Wars and general 80's pop!) and having conversations with comics artists whom I'd been admiring for years!
Like an addiction, my need to attend ComicCons increased as the years went by and while San Diego Comic-Con has thus far eluded me, I managed to attend a few conventions in the subsequent years following that fateful chance meeting with the voice-over legend Scott McNeil. London Film & Comic Con (LFCC) and DemonCon (Maidstone) followed before finally, in May 2015, I found myself imparting my convention 'wisdom' onto Arti Shah, who had just booked Folkestone Film & Comic Con, which was her first ever signing!
The following months were a relentless race to finish work and expand my 'folio for multiple conventions, including Nerdageddon, H-Con and LFCC. Surrounded by talent, my mind boggles as to how I've managed to land here.
Since these aforementioned shows, I've attended conventions all over the world both as an exhibitor and as a visitor just there to 'check it out'. From North America to Europe, the friends I've made along the way have probably been the highlight of my life on the circuit. I'll write about some of my other convention experiences in the future, such as Fantasy Basel in Switzerland, for which I got to design and hang what genuinely felt like a proper art exhibit (I created 5 new pieces, titled Star Wars: Villains for the show). The last show I'd hung was during my academic life almost a decade prior, so it felt good to exhibit new works - in a dedicated white walled space, with my artist's bio and wall labels - rather than simply having them laid out or propped up on a table (though there's nothing wrong with that either). So do pop back here for that.
I've had such amazing challenges and experiences attending conventions over the last few years. Here's to many more, but for now, here are some shots from I've Got a Bad Feeling About This (IGABFAT):