I’m happy to report that there were some excellent panels and readings at SpikeCon this year. As I sometimes do, I discovered that I kept bumping into some of the same interesting people over and over at this convention. Of course, that’s partially because many of us have similar interests, and partially because, although some 1,100 memberships were sold to SpikeCon, for a variety of reasons only about 850 people showed up.
This explains why several of the people in some these pictures are the same people as the ones in other pictures! In fact, the identical same group was scheduled together for two different panels I attended. Lucky for their growing group of devoted followers, they had a range of different things to say each time.
I was on several panels, myself, but you’ll notice they aren’t featured here. I don’t have pictures of panels I was on, or of my reading at SpikeCon (though it was gratifyingly well-attended! Thank you!!).
This is largely because it’s hard to photograph oneself in such situations. Tyrell Gephardt, my son and regular convention partner who usually photographs my events when possible, was almost invariably scheduled on his own panels at the same times.
But trust me. They were brilliant. And there’s always a chance the topics of some of those panels and readings will turn up someday as the subjects of blog posts in the future.
IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SpikeCon’s homepage for the graphic gestalt of when, where, and who were headliner guests. All other photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, with the permission of their subjects. If you wish to re-post or use them, please include an attribution to me as the photographer, and if possible include a link back to this page. Thanks!
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post for a longer time than I expected (because of my crazy life–it’s not Lara’s fault!). I went to her presentation at MALCon/Westercon in Denver last July and immediately knew I wanted to share it on this blog.
In her presentation, as in the video, she outlined seven excellent ways to help small artists thrive. Her advice goes for all sorts of creative types. She herself is a musician, but her advice applies for artists in many fields. That includes musicians, actors, dancers, crafters, visual artists, comics-creators, and writers.
How to Support Small Artists!
by Losing Lara
In this day and age with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so much more, it is incredibly easy to create art and put it up online. Whether you are a musician, writer, or traditional artist the world is your oyster as long as you have a stable internet connection. What seems to be increasingly difficult is being a consumer of said art.
Day after day we are inundated with some new piece of entertainment and it can be hard to know what’s the best way to really support the people and art that we love. As a YouTuber, writer, and musician, I have found that my friends and family are surprised when I tell them even the simplest (and free) ways that they can support me.
Because of this I have made a YouTube video, a convention panel that I have presented multiple times, and now a blog post. With the help of artists in several different mediums, we have seven tips that you can help support the small artist in your life.
1 – Participation
This is the easiest step of them all. Even better, it’s free! If you see a post online that is some sort of interest to you, whether you know the artist or like the subject, then click on it!
Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Soundcloud link, or takes you to a personal website, click on it. That is one more number added to an artist’s closely-studied metrics. The higher the numbers are, the more successful an artist. It starts with you!
You might think that your one view doesn’t matter. But in the grand scheme, every little bit counts!
2 – Go to Shows!
This feeds into participation. Because without an audience, it wouldn’t be much of a show. A lot of times, this can be free too!
If your writer friend has a book reading at a local bookstore? Your friend is performing in an open mic? Free art gallery exhibit? Check them all out!
Even if you can’t buy anything from the artist/bookstore/gallery, just be there. Seeing your face in the crowd is a show of support that means the world to artists! Also, if your friend is in theater, ask when the show’s industry night will be. You can usually get discounted tickets!
3 – Share the Thing!
This is one of the most important ways to support! Small artists don’t have a huge marketing team working behind the scenes to get their art in front of as many people as possible. We have you and your pointer finger.
When you see them post about their new book, their new album, video, show, artwork whatever it might be, hit that share button! Memes are great. If you are like me, you share about 200 in one day. Sharing work from a small artist is just as easy, not to mention, more important.
4 – Reviews
Now it’s time to add your voice into the mix! The comment section is a magical (though sometimes scary) place. It can be almost more important than views alone.
All these social media sites run on algorithms. If a post has a lot of views but no interaction its respective website won’t promote it. Especially if your friend is selling a book on Amazon, the more reviews, the more Amazon will showcase the book. Even bad reviews, but of course, good ones are always better. This is also very important onEtsy.
5 – Buy the Thing!
The majority of these tips are things you can do for free. But we live in a capitalist society. Unfortunately, being alive is expensive. An artist creates for the love of creation, but at some point we need to eat. That’s where buying our art goes a long way!
Spotify is great. But it takes 1,000 streams of just one album for the artist to make the equivalent of ONE sale.
Most importantly, exposure does not buy food! Exposure is great for an artist. But art takes a lot of time and work. It should be valued in the same way as spending time working inside of an office building.
6 – Tipping and Reward Sites
If you can’t afford to buy a item, then a lot of artists have a tipping and reward site! On sites like Patreon and Ko-Fi, you don’t necessarily buy a thing, but pay for a monthly subscription or one-time donation. YouTubers who don’t necessarily create a tangible product go this route.
There are also sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo where someone can propose a project and you can invest in it. On these sites and Patreon you can either donate or you can get something from the artist in return, while Ko-Fi is only donations.
7 – Don’t copy/illegally download
Whatever your feelings about large corporations, that does not apply to small artists. As I mentioned before, there is no giant team behind these people, they are usually doing everything themselves.
Yes, we are happy when people like our art, but not enough to completely give up credit. Please don’t repost art without an artist’s name. That is literally taking money away from them. If you see art without credit you can report it and do a Google Image Search (Jan’s addition: or use TinEye) to find the original post.
As you can see, supporting small artists can be easy! I know every time one of my videos or songs gets a like or a share it feels so wonderful and encouraging.
We make art to share with people and even just a like lets us know that there is someone out there. There is someone who sees us and sees our work and takes even just a second to say, “Hey, I see you and I like it.” And really, isn’t that what everyone wants in life?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Losing Lara makes videos for the internet, performs nerdy music, and occasionally writes a bit. You can find her on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Bandcamp.
IMAGES: The video and all the illustrated headers, as well as the text for today’s post, are all courtesy of Losing Lara. I found the cover image for her song I Said No on her Bandcamp site. Please share this post, and give her full credit!
Ty and I are on the road once more.This time we’re set for the Westin DFW Airport Hotel in Irving, TX, and FenCon XV. It’s a new convention for us, but we hope to make new friends and meet up with some familiar faces. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there! Please note: events on the schedule have been updated since this post was originally published. Please check the online FenCon schedule to make sure you have the most current version!
I don’t yet have finished cover art from Jody A. Lee, but she sent me a color comp that gives a pretty good idea how the finished project will look. It illustrates a scene from around the middle of the novel, when Rex and LSA Shiva Shimon, an agent from the Station Bureau of Investigation, venture into the infamous underworld neighborhood known as the Five-Ten.
I laid all my artwork out on a measured-off box on my living room floor–and I think I can squeeze it all in! I’m taking an example of every current piece of paper sculpture in my collection to the FenCon Art Show. Don’t miss:
IMAGES: Many thanks to FenCon XV for their website header/logo! The color comp for my soon-to-be cover is by Jody A. Lee, and is used by agreement. I took the photo of my own Westercon 71/MALCon 6 display. You may reblog or re-post it with my blessings, as long as you include an attribution and an link back to this post. Thanks!
One of the nicest things that happened for me while I was at Westercon/MALCon in Denver earlier this month was receiving a blue ribbon in the 3D category at the Art Show. I feel very honored, because there was a lot of wonderful 3D artwork in this show.
The honored piece was a special, one-of-a-kind Artist’s Proof (abbreviated AP) of the Common Cliff Dragon–Malecollection of multiple originals. I called it the “spiny ridge” AP because in a fit of madness I experimented with cutting out each individual scale on the ridge along the dragon’s back, then sculpting them to stand up slightly.
I took the second photo in December 2016 before I matted the piece. I have to admit it looked pretty cool, but it was a delicate operation, it took a long time, and when I’d finished I swore I’d never do that again. Granted, one should “never say ‘never,'” but now I’m officially on record that it was a one-of-a-kind experiment.
A one-of-a-kind experiment that was awarded this wonderful honor, and one which also has now been “rehomed” with a new owner. The owner got some prize-winning new art, but I was the one who got to keep the ribbon!
IMAGES: Both photographs were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own artwork. If you wish to re-post or reblog either of them you may, as long as you include an attribution to me and a link back to this post. Thank you!
IMAGE: Many thanks to Tyrell Gephardt for taking this photo and allowing me to use it. If you wish to retweet, reblog, etc., please attribute Ty as the photographer, and include a link back to this page. Thanks!
The reception on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 on the first night (July 4, 2018) gave us a panoramic view of several municipal fireworks displays in Denver and along the Front Range of the Rockies. They went on for at least an hour.
I intend to devote at least one more post to the programming (possibly more), but I’m still waiting on a couple of things, so today I’d like to give some more general impressions. As I noted last week, I managed to miss connecting with the Programming folks. As a result, this was a very unusual con for me in one way–no panels to prepare for or moderate!
So I did what any truefan would do: I volunteered when possible, to help out. Science fiction fandom runs on volunteer power–and the best way to get to know people is to participate.
Here’s a photo from the Art Show setup at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 in Denver. We had a pretty small space but Art Show Director Bruce Miller (far L, white hair with his back to us) and his MileHiConArt Show Teamwho could make it–some were ill, sadly–have this setup thing down to a process. My son and traveling companion Tyrell Gephardt (3rd from right in the background) and I helped as we could. I can’t see well enough to identify the guy in the middle by the doorway, but the woman in the foreground right isLizzie Newell, a fellow paper sculptor!(although her work and mine are different). At far right in the background you can see about half of Robert Pechmann, a mainstay of Bruce’s Art Show Team.
Mostly, I volunteered in the Art Show. Having been the Art Show Director at ConQuesT for three years, before gratefully turning it over to the capable and talented Mikah McCullough, and having been involved in art shows since the early 1980s (including co-writing the original version of the ASFA Art Show Guidelines with Richard Pini, in intense consultation with Teresa Patterson, who is writing now but was running art shows then), art shows at sf cons are my “natural environment.” I like to think I helped, this weekend.
Here are two views from above: at left are fan tables and several general-interest booths; at right is a view from the catwalk above, of gamers enjoying tabletop games inside the atrium at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.
As noted above, at least one more blog post in this space will deal with the panels I attended at Westercon 71/MALCon 6, but in more general terms I’d like to quote from a journal entry I wrote on Saturday of the convention (July 7, 2018), about my experience:
“I feel as if I’ve been attending an intensive writers’ and artist’s immersion experience this week. My typical day has been a wake-up into immediately thinking about my book, working on the book, then working in the Art Show, surrounded with amazing art and interacting with some of the people who made it, going to panels that are (at their best) almost like graduate-level seminars on the topic of the panel—frequently thought-provoking, even when they don’t reach that pinnacle. Evenings have been spent reviewing the day’s events and input, discussing experiences with Ty, and more writing.”
To my surprise and delight, theArt Show Judges (independent from any influence by the Art Show Staff I’d become a temporary part of) awarded me with a First Prize in the 3D category. The picture they honored was the one-of-a-kind “Spiny Ridge” version of the multiple original Common Cliff Dragon–Male. As I explained to Bruce, I don’t intend to tie up my time with anything that intricate again! We’ll see how long that resolveholds out.
After the better part of a full week at the convention, I must say my mood was divided. Part of me wanted to linger longer (maybe get more work done), but we also needed to get home!
IMAGES: All photos in this post were taken by Jan S. Gephardt, including the one of Jan’s own artwork. Please feel free to re-post, reblog, share, or tweet any of these photos, but please include an attribution and a link back to this page. Many thanks!
Well, all my current artwork that’s finished, that is. Today’s Image probably looks a lot like several earlier Images of Interest you’ve seen on this blog through the early summer: my Art Show panel at yet another sf convention.
This has been an unusual convention for me so far, most notably because a communications glitch has resulted in my not being a panelist. This Concom got the same head shot, bio, and introductory letter that’s set me up with programming duties elsewhere (including Worldcon 76 in San Jose, CA, my next convention).
But there was a typo in the email address on my part, an unforeseen and unrelated complication for the Concom, and ultimately–no panels for Jan. Now, I know I probably could have pressed the issue and ended up with a panel or two. But there’s nothing that screams “insecure wannabe” quite so loudly to a convention committee as someone not chosen for programming, who then whines and moans and complains about it until the Programming Chair finally puts him or her on something, just to shut the obnoxious loudmouth up, already.
I can’t honestly claim that I never whine (if I tried, I know folks who would shoot me down in a New York minute, so I won’t go there!), but I do try not to be obnoxious.
So instead, I’ve been volunteering this weekend–most particularly in the Art Show. No sf convention on the planet ever had enough volunteers, so that was the logical choice. I wanted to stay busy and do something useful. I know art shows (God knows I should, by now), so I knew to expect that Art Show Director Bruce Miller would need extra hands on the morning the art show panels went up. My back hurts as I write this, but I did stay busy, and it appears I made myself useful, too.
Honestly, is there a better thing we can do with ourselves?
IMAGE: The photo was taken by me (Jan S. Gephardt) of my own artwork on my Westercon 71/MALCon 6 Art Show panel. Please feel free to share or re-post it, but if you do please include an attribution and a link back to this post. Many thanks!