Illuxcon was this weekend, and I'm still not sure how to approach the process of digesting it.
Unlike the IMC, which was one solid week of an experience, made up as it was by many moments, this year I experienced Illuxcon in a series of rapid but discrete moments. They added up to something monumental for me - I have a sensibility that's not just in my head but visible to peers and idols and art directors, and while I'm not 'there' yet I am close - but they break down in my head to individual conversations and reviews, and so make the overall weekend harder to parse.
This was my third year at the show. Each time I've attended, it's been important: the first year, when I was a junior, Illuxcon was a weekend of inspiration and encouragement in the middle of the awful pit of thesis that I'd spend the next five months crawling through; last year, as a senior, I felt like a part the fantasy illustration community for the first time. But this time -
- this time each critique focused on polish, on being aware of the pitfalls I was hitting that were holding down the average, on building a consistent portfolio, because the consensus was that the work I was doing was good and very nearly there. This time I hung out with people I privately have always thought of as 'the cool kids'. This time I had conversations with artists whose work has been inspiring me deeply for years. This time, I had a Showcase table that my idols were stopping at to compliment my paintings; this time, one of them nearly sold.
I have not been making art long; I haven't been serious about it for much more than four years. But I have worked hard to make up for the gap, and it's things like the IMC, like this past weekend, that make me feel like I'm not a fool for going to art school in the middle of an economic meltdown, nor for dedicating my life to a field that's notorious for the lack of security it affords.
There are too many people to thank; there is too much inspiration to express. So I guess I'll go back to painting.