I was going to write a review of HERO CON 2016. I spent 2 hours writing really poignant thoughts about the way the event was put together. I made sure to point out things that were good alongside all the things that were bad. I’ve since scrapped it.
I didn’t scrap it because I thought it’d hurt people’s feelings, I didn’t scrap it because being honest about a bad show in this business can get you black-listed. I decided to scrap it because I decided there was no point in writing it all down, saving it on the internet, building a bandwagon to jump on to. Suffice to say, sometimes a bad show happens, sometimes you want to believe the best and the opposite holds true. Sometimes, you’re dealt a shit hand, but that’s the game.
It doesn’t matter that it was a bad show, and good show that failed, or whatever. There’a always going to be bad shows. You’re always going to have to fight to survive it. There’s something more important than this single show that I’d rather address. Something I don’t hear spoken about openly.
A lot of artists don’t talk about it, at least outside of artist circles. I don’t know why, it’s a mystique thing I suppose. This career path is nothing more than high-stakes gambling against your own lively-hood. You put a lot of time and money up UP FRONT and hope to make it all back and then some. A lot of shows offer very little to the artist in return from an often $200.00 price tag for the “privilege” to display at their show. Meanwhile, celebrity guests are flown out, put up, given ammenities and a green room fully stocked at the expense of the show, the expense that is passed directly to the vendors and artists. There have been shows where I’ve had to just pick a table at random they were so disorganized, and you can’t help but wonder what you just spent a bunch of money getting yourself into.
Just like gambling at a casino or on the track, when you win big at a show it feels amazing! The adrenaline rush of success takes over and as you count out your sales from the weekend you can’t imagine ever NOT making money this way. But, when you lose it all because you bet on red, you go home wondering what you’re doing, why you’re even doing it, how you’re going to pay rent now, and worst of all how do I go about getting some more money to book my next show, the next show is gonna be big money. The sickest part is that win or lose, you’re probably still planning your next event, and either ‘Letting it Ride’ if you had a recent successor telling yourself “this next one is a sure thing” in the face of loss. Despite the shit show you survived, you’re still stuck on the IDEA of the “big win”.
This is a rough life and even when you have a stable network of friends and fans who support you, you have remind yourself, that they can’t support you alone, they can’t carry you on their back just because they liked the way you drew _____ . They love you, and they’ll support you in what ways they can, but they can’t always be at every show or every event, they probably can’t buy one of everything you make; so you have to go out and make new fans, you have to have to constantly and consistently cultivate your following. You have to take care of your group and they’ll take care of you. And I think that if nothing else this weekend, I did that. I met some great new folks, and saw some great familiar faces. While I wasn’t able to move a whole lot this weekend, I had a meaningful moment with every single transaction I made, which is a rarity sometimes too.
It wasn’t a successful show. I will say that honestly. It was pretty bad overall. Mostly due to very little attendance, it seemed. But over the short time I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned to make the best with what I have while I’m there. You don’t get a refund for leaving early, and you never know if you’ll see that game changing sale at the end of the show (It’s happened to me for sure). When ever I recoginize a bad show happening around me, I always tell myself “You gotta squeeze every ounce of juice out of this lemon”. It just means make the best of it, ya know, Convention Life just gave you a bunch of lemons, now go make the most fucking refreshing pitcher of lemonade anyone has ever tasted. (and charge X-number per glass if you have to) hahaha.
I didn’t stick with the original review because, unfortunately, I’ve had more bad shows than I’ve had good ones; and in the end it’s my fault. No one made me choose to do this, I’m doing this myself, I’m doing this to Laura. It’s on me, but despite the adversity, I love it. I’m an addict.
Thank you all for your continued love a support,
to those whom I still owe long standing commission work, I haven’t forgotten you! I’ve a add a third end to my candle in which to burn, I’m mostly recovered and powering through. Thanks for being patient.