Monday, April 1, 2013

Evillecon 2013: Review for Artists

This is my first year at Evillecon. I'd heard fairly mixed reviews from other artists about previous years and was really hesitant about going. It turned out to be a pretty fantastic weekend.

Venue: Uummm…

So I’m finally going to give the venue its own review. Evillecon was located at the Holiday Inn Express by the Evansville, IN airport. So it’s a hotel generally catering to business people on trips, families that are stopping by, typical airport hotel. The HIE is actually a really cool hotel. Half the ceiling is glass and lets in a ton of light. However I have to say the hotel is hard to navigate. The front lobby is pretty much the entire hotel complete with all the panel rooms, dining area, and pool. Yeah, the pool was like a stones throw away from the artist alley. I think the only really weird thing was that half the rooms faced inside into the lobby so you could see almost the entire convention (and the entire pool area) from your balcony. Creepy. But many of the attendees really seemed to like this so thumbs up for them.

The biggest problem was noise. We stayed in the con hotel and had a second floor balcony facing the inside lobby. Oh my god it was ridiculous how much you could hear. I’m sure this isn’t a problem for normal stays but the convention brings in kids running down the halls and too many people shouting nonsensible things too early in the morning.

Another downer was the heat and lighting. Even accounting for the packed bodies, the hotel was hot in the lobby. There was a snowstorm brewing outside and I was sweating in my tshirt. As for lighting, daytime was great. Sun came in through the glass ceiling, sometimes blinding certain sections of the lobby. Once the sun started to go down though, it got dark. The hotel only had ambience lighting in the lobby. A few clusters of “natural” lamps here and there. Not tripping over yourself in the dark, but squinting to see when conducting a sale. There were big hanging lights but no one ever seemed inclined to turn them on despite hundreds of people running and sitting on floors and dancing everywhere.

Artist/Dealer Space: Isolated Haven

The alley itself was located about in the center of the lobby but you had to go down a few steps. Pretty cool. 6’ tables were provided and set up in a functional way with tables around the edges and a small group in the center. There was enough space for the most part and I’d say the area was pretty nice and enclosed.

Because the alley was in the lobby, you had to tear down and set up every day. There was no real separation from the rest of the convention so no one even left things under the table. To my knowledge, there were no thefts or vandalisms of display items. This of course means that there are no hours set. Some artists left early, some stayed until they were falling asleep. It started to look kinda wonky because some tables were deserted and BAM there’s a lonely artist hanging out here and there. But what am I saying, I prefer to make my own hours anyway.

There was only one entrance to the alley, the other paths were roped off. This seemed to create a bottle effect with traffic as people trickled in. I spoke to someone while out walking and they claimed they hadn’t even been to the AA by Sunday because all the openings were roped off and they couldn’t find a way down.

Wifi was provided by the hotel and was open to anyone who wanted to use it. The strength was pretty good for how many people were probably accessing it at one time. Always a bonus for those doing commissions or taking card.

Variety: The Usual

Evillecon for me is a new circuit of artists so I saw tons of new things. For the most part, the artist alley is pretty on par with what you would expect. Fanart prints, a few comics and novels, accessories and a few crafts. It was pretty well balanced between prints and crafts although there were very few artists offering commissions. I’m not sure if that’s a St. Louis area thing or what.

I of course found a few things I loved. One artist that I met last year in KY was there and she was selling customized Monster High dolls. Holy hell if I had the money. I also saw a bunch of headbands, leather masks, bead sprites, etc that I really wish I could’ve gotten my hands on. A pretty good variety for anime and geek fans of all types.

Sales and Attendees: Slow But Steady

Because my art is my career and not just a hobby, I’m a little more critical about this category than I really should be. I will say that the attendees were great. It was a very relaxed atmosphere the entire weekend and that’s not always the case at some cons. There was plenty of appreciation for all types of art so no one was being left out. I didn’t hear one rude or negative thing all weekend and that’s a super plus.

Ok so no nastiness but here’s one that threw me a little. Three separate people came by and took pictures of my things. This has NEVER happened to me at other shows and I thought it was common sense to ask before you take a picture of someone’s booth or products. But yeah, three different people at different times. One took a picture of the booth so whatever, but the other two snapped up close pictures of not just one or two things, but of each panel on my earring rack, every “section” of bookmarks on display, and so on. I was so surprised I didn’t even react. Maybe they like my stuff, maybe they want to copy it. Whatever the case, this miffed me a little.

Sales were mixed for artists. I think for a show it is ok/good. You’re certainly not bustling the entire time but you get enough traffic that you’re not bored or falling asleep. I think the longest I went without someone stopping by the table was maybe 15 minutes, and the longest time between sales was 2 hours.

Another artist pointed this out to me: big ticket items sold really well. I heard the vendors room was doing crazy awesome this year, and every other person was carrying something from a vendor. Many of the artists sold quite a few big ticket things as well. Most shows, junky dollar items go fast but apparently not at Evillecon13. This is important if you sell mostly little items or if you are wondering how many big ticket items you’ll want to stock.

Staff Attitudes: Good Con, Meh Hotel

I didn’t have too much interaction with staff. I’m not sure I could’ve identified them to you aside from the guys at registration wearing the Evillecon shirts. -_- I certainly didn’t have any problems and the couple that I did talk to were fantastic and very enthusiastic. Our wonderful AA director was super duper awesome and very friendly. Oh and prompt on emails which is always triple brownie points with me.

Hotel staff is not normally one I get into unless there’s an altercation but here we go. The hotel staff were friendly for the most part. Emphasis on that last part. Some of them were very obviously impatient with the convention and were pretty unprofessional and, I can’t believe I’m going to say this on my blog, ghetto. Not like oh they live in the inner city ghetto but like snapping fingers in your face and giving you attitude when you ask the bartender for water ghetto. So take that as you will.


Evillecon overall was a very fun show to attend. I met a ton of super cool people including artists, locals, promoters for other conventions, and vacationers who were caught off guard. :D I’m very excited that the show was such a success because I definitely want to go back next year if I can. They’re opening applications for 2014 this October so keep your eyes open if you’re interested. And next year I’m totally doing the Magic tourney. God I’m so sore about missing that. >_<

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