Tell me about yourself and what you do.
I’m a life-long artist myself, drawing since age 5. In 1992, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the University of The Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, I worked as a full-time freelance illustrator for many years, with diverse clients in all genres of illustration including advertising, editorial, and publishing.
What inspired you to start Artistacon? Tell us about the event and why you decided to create it.
My colleague and I were guests of NY Comic Con’s Artist Alley in 2012, and while we were speaking to people, as we promoted our own art and product, we noticed we were getting just as many questions from people asking how to get into the Art field – how did we get work, where were the best resources for learning, etc. We decided to help people who are eager to learn, and Artistacon was founded. We held the first one in 2016 in The Lyceum in Burlington, NJ.
What can attendees expect from Artistacon? What are some topics that will be covered by your guest speakers?
We use the word “intimate” quite a bit when we speak about Artistacon. This is not a “con” with 5,000 people, this is an intimate educational experience where people who are either just beginning their journey into a career in the Arts or are interested in doing so can actually meet and speak with professionals who are experienced and successful in their respective fields. Attendees can get portfolio reviews, mentorship or advice from Art Directors, publishers, Fine Artists – you name it. We have worked hard to ensure there’s something for everyone, and that is evident in our programming.
Our topics are geared to those exploring a career in the Arts. Many artists and writers have a great deal of talent, and they have to work to continue developing their craft. We will have workshops and panels from Fine Artists like Dave Palumbo, Neilson Carlin, and John Wellington, as well as writers, illustrators, and comic artists to help them continue that part of their process. But there’s a business side that many art professionals have to be knowledgeable about too, and we are providing information on subjects such as social media, self-promotion, what Art Directors are really looking for, self-publishing and many more.
How do you choose your guests of honor and presenters?
We are artists, too, and we know who we admire in the industry, and we aren’t shy about asking the best of the best to be a part of Artistacon. Most people we speak to jump at the chance to give back and share their wisdom. We also want to make that we have a diverse group of people with a variety of talents, from a variety of genres and disciplines to ensure that we are providing attendees with a great experience. I think we have accomplished that – we have 40+ presenters among our Guests of Honor, Featured Artisans, and panel participants.