Saturday, February 23, 2013


“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
~ Pablo Picasso

Just say the word to yourself; SketchCon.  If you’re hearing it for the first time, you have to admit, it sounds intriguing as all hell.  I know I was.

The first time I heard about SketchCon was when I interviewed artist Christian Masot at the ‘Toys on the Hudson’ show in ­Jersey City. Mascot summarized SketchCon by saying, “It’s a show for original artists, sculptor & paintersto show off their work, and sell it as well.”

After talking about it for some time, Masot really hyped up SketchCon.  Oddly enough, I still didn’t know what to expect from the show.  The second I walked into the Whisky Café, I could tell that this show was going to be fucking awesome.
Ever see the look on a kid’s face when they see presents under a tree or walk into Toys “R” Us for the first time?  I’m pretty sure I had that same look.

I noticed breathtaking paintings, zombie prints, custom t-shirts and best of all, a fully stocked bar.  I instantly wished I was there as a spectator so that I could have more fun, but I reminded myself that I was on the clock, which helped me stay clear of the bar.

The show was a lot to take in. One thing I should mention is if you give me a pencil and sketch pad, I’m more likely to hurt myself than accomplish any type of beautiful art.  So for someone in my position, it was a little overwhelming.

Luckily, the vendors and other show goers made this a great experience.

Not one artist/seller talked down to me while I asked them, what may likely have been, ridiculous questions. Nor did anyone refuse to explain to me the creative process of a piece or act as if they were plain old better than me.

Meanwhile, I was talking to other show goers as if we had known each other for years. Talking and simply being in awe of the artists’ work brought a sense of community. All these great conversations took place while awesome rock music was being played… this was pretty bad ass.

I mentioned before that I’m not much of an artist…surprise surprise…but that also goes for home decorating as well. I REALLY don’t like going shopping at big stores for decorative household items like Ikea or Wal-Mart. Although some of the individual items may look nice, and will possibly bring a particular feel to your home, that one item that you think will make you original can be found in thousands of stores around the world.  In retrospect, there really isn’t any individualism to anything at a major store. 

Cue in SketchCon.

Each item at SketchCon is truly one of a kind.  Better yet, if you find a particular piece that you kind of like, you can have it specifically modified to be something you truly love!  Here’s an example of something I want to get my parents:

I want to give my folks something unique for their anniversary.  They love Harley-Davidson motorcycles and zombies.  So I’m going to turn to Gerald for help.  I plan on giving him a picture my parents love of the two of them next to their Harley.  Terado will do his zombie magic, and will soon make an awesome zombified portrait of my parents.

This is just one example of the uniqueness behind SketchCon.  You won’t find this in just any store.  You won’t find this in another home across America.  Instead, I’m going to find something personal that my parents will really enjoy, and I’ll give my money to a local artist. Personally, it would be greedy to ask for anything more. 

I mentioned before that the show is a lot to take in.  However, if you’re an art student, or someone that wants to learn more about art in some way, you’re going to learn A LOT at SketchCon. 

Artists wanted to talk about, well, art.

They want to share their experiences.
They want to tell people about mistakes they’ve made so that others don’t do the same.
Basically, they want to share knowledge, and give people advice on how to accomplish their artistic goals.

Class truly is in session as SketchCon.  If you just look around and ask a few questions, you’ll definitely walk out smarter than when you walked in.

Except for the fact I couldn’t drink at the show, the positives greatly out way the negatives.  Here is a breakdown of the 2012 SketchCon…

            Young to old, novice to expert, even clueless to teacher, there’s a nice eclectic crowd that comes to SketchCon, but best of all, non of them have a narcissistic attitude, making you feel like they’re better than you.
            It’s a real nice mix of people, to match the different types of art being shown.  The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize till just now just how friendly everybody was. Seriously, if it wasn’t the fact that I was working at this show, I could’ve had a beer with anyone there.  Well, except for the 13 year-old-kid.

            Except for Christian, I didn’t really deal with much of the staff.  However, I noticed how the staff interacted with the vendors, and show goers.
            The whole time, I noticed how they were helping answer questions, showing people where they should go, and most importantly, letting people know the second that the bar was open.
            Of course, the crowd broke out into applause when that announcement was made.

            As the day went on; the crowd size fluctuated a lot.  It went from easily movable, to somewhat jam packed (especially near the stage).  However, once the bar/kitchen opened up, the entire floor was pretty easy to move around.
            After that, it only got annoying when people were carrying around large purchases, or when a few vendors took up too much space at their table.  Not sure if this is a sign that the show will get larger next year, but it would be great if they add more floor space and vendors.

            On a 1-10 scale.  This is an 11 easy.
            The vendor quality is really what made SketchCon so fantastic to visit.  There was literally a little of everything, and something for anyone. 
            You had custom t-shirts, to hand-made jewelry, to personalized art, to pretty much anything else. 
            It’s also proof that if you have personalized art that you want to sell, that this is the best way to take it to the public.

            The Whiskey Café is pretty easy to get to no matter where you’re coming from.  It’s off of two major highways, and can easily be accessed through public transportation. 
            As a bonus, it was surprisingly easy to get there by using some local back roads.  I didn’t have to deal with the headaches of weekend highway driving.  Yet another reason why Google Maps kicks the snot out of Apple Maps.
            Most people in New Jersey know where ‘Mid-Evil Times’ is located.  For the most part, it’s right next door.

            SketchCon is a toddler.  This is the second year the show has been around, and anyone that visited can tell you, it’s going to get A LOT bigger and better.
            The organizers are onto something big here. I don’t know what they’ll do next to take the show up a notch, but I’m really excited to see what they do.  Personally, I’d love it if they have tattoo artists and creative workshop classes.
            The atmosphere is second to non.  People will find high quality work, experts want to spread knowledge, and just an overall good vibe from everyone attending.
            Anyone who’s a novice to master, looking for original work that someone took pride in making themselves or is just looking to have fun, needs to visit SketchCon.  Hopefully this show is held more often, because if that happens, everyone in general would benefit.

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