Mechacon 2317 : Artist Alley Review

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don’t go to mechacon.

But seriously, was anyone having a good time in this alley? I don’t even think I have photos to share (maybe just a ton of drunken videos asking where is Bic Vaughn).

EDIT: There’s an update at the end for anyone curious!

Logistics

So I guess finding the check-in was a little easier this year. I found it, and upon realizing I didn’t get my helper a badge (she was confirmed late, so I missed the window at first because I assumed I wouldn’t need a second badge), I was told you can’t purchase extra artist badges because they’re pre-reg only. This is fucking stupid and I’m gonna tell you why: 1. it’s a fucking artist badge, you’re not trying to incentivize pre-sales for profit with “pre-reg” artist badges because we’re coming as workers 2. we’re coming as workers, we’re contributing (in theory) to the profitability and economy of the convention and our table/badge sales (theoretically) help pay for the convention space 3. we’re coming as workers, our asses are sitting in the LONG FUCKING HOURS of your artist alley, we’re not trying to take advantage of the SyStEm, we just want reasonably priced badges to sit in the fucking dungeon of an alley AND FINALLY 4. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE AT LITERALLY ANY OTHER CON I’VE BEEN TO. Have some blank badges, let me hand you the 40 bucks or whatever, bing bang boom.

Update: I realized San Japan did the same thing. But also San Japan’s logistics got a 0/666, too, so therE YOU GO.

So nah, poor Sonia had to stand in the registration line for an hour- an hour I definitely would have preferred to have her helping me/working for me.

So all that fuckery aside, come inside the dank (in the literal sense, not the new meme-y sense) alley and find my table- ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK IN TOTAL DARKNESS! LOLOLOL. I am not even exaggerating, here is an unedited photo with no flash:

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So they’ve made me pay extra for a second badge and now they’ve placed me in a back corner in complete darkness. That’s 100% perfect and beautiful for sales, just what every artist dreams of. Even the artists that weren’t in total darkness were still in garbage lighting. And then, the day 2 solution was to move everyone down X number of feet- this *sort of* moved me out of the darkness and *definitely* moved other artists INTO the darkness. NO AFFENSE BUT how the FUCK do you plan an Artist Alley and not turn on the lights and say “wow, this is total shit!” Frankly I’m amazed at myself for not demanding my money back.

Through all of this, I don’t think I saw the actual AA head once, just a helper who seemed panicked and unsure of basically everything. Other fun tidbits include: asking if we can just get a light and plug it into the giant pillar in front of our table with outlets, being told No because the electricity isn’t on, and finding out on Sunday that it was on the whole time! Crazy Long AA hours- I don’t think you’re doing me a favor, I think you’re making me stress as to whether attendees are gonna rifle through my stuff when I (reasonably) decide to leave to get dinner.

Performance

Performance was terrible, surprising no one. At least I made a profit, but it was almost half what I do at my best cons, certainly down from last year, and certainly less than I expected. Enamel pin and acrylic charm sales were so obviously hurt by the setup- I sold not a single acrylic charm because, y’know, no one could even see them. This is insanely unusual for me. Considering the cost of the hotel and my flight to NOLA from NYC, I really don’t think I’ll be returning based on this alone. I think plenty of artists did not break even at this convention, which is a damn shame.

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Overall Convention

As usual, when you’re in AA, you don’t get to see much of the con. I had a fun time seeing my NOLA friends and New Orleans is such a wonderful amazing city- it’s a shame that I really don’t think I can justify returning next year. We had fun at Anime Burlesque and the rave, and I heard everyone had a ton of fun at all the Lolita programming, though I was unable to attend. I also must say, having a mini food court right outside the AA and a Starbucks one floor up was life-saving (though it was a literal Escape the Room challenge to find the second floor). And thank you, New Orleans, for having alcohol in your CVS<3

I don’t even have more photos from this convention because holy shit, it was depressing and impossible to photograph anything. Luckily, I DO have this photos of Marina and I in our matching kigurumis. Yes, hers is a bird and mine is a sloth but that’s just who we are and IT MATCHES, OK?

I had an amazing amazing time speaking with people and meeting people that follow me on the internet, though, I have to say! This really is so meaningful and important to me! It kept me cheerful despite residing in the LITERAL epitome of an AA Cave. But unfortunately, I’ve pretty much decided to never table at MechaCon again 😦

~

UPDATE: So it looks like Mechacon is releasing tables in waves– each wave costing more than the last, and each wave costing more than last year’s table cost. The table layout/Artist Alley room looks to be 100% the same as last year, so you can expect more dank dungeon con 2018. No statements have been made addressing the issues Artist voiced during the con, no acknowledgement of problems, not so much as a response to a somewhat critical Facebook comment. I have also since spoken to several artists who had similarly awful experiences at this convention in 2017 (including a horrible story from my friend shared in the comments of this post). My final word on the matter is really that if you are an artist who takes their work and business seriously, I recommend steering clear of Mechacon!

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4 thoughts on “Mechacon 2317 : Artist Alley Review

  1. god bless you and amen. This all of this. I’ve not found but maybe 1 or 2 people say they’re going back out of the literal 20 friends i had in AA. The con requiring long hours, no jurying process and not giving 2 badges still blows my mind. I’ve NEVER had a show make me buy a second badge. Who does shows solo anymore? seriously? Don’t get me started on the fact they’re selling AA tables super early this year ahem this week. For 125 a pop. (only 41 tables available mind you) then releasing 2 more sets of AA tables at 135 and 145. Yep. They’re increasing price on each set. They forgot to mention they’re adding MORE AA tables as in 15 new tables. That and the con has been adamant to refuse jurying again because somehow it hurts new artists? And they’re refusing to slim down the ridiculous 11 hour days they expect artists to work. Not to mention they ignore your if you come up with theft at your table. Oh and don’t forget the huge COLUMNS everywhere blocking artists tables. Lord this was such a mess. I hope more artists are like me and you and take a stand. Bravo. I’m sad to see you go but i will literally make a point to find you on the con trail and go to shows to see you.

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    • WOW Thank you so much for commenting, like 10000x this is so helpful and essential as like a footnote!! And so people know I’m not just some crazy gal hehe. I did forget to talk about the application process 100%- they say they do it for “new artists” but honestly I think it’s more to favor small artists and to actively prevent it from becoming big and competitive (and therefore interesting and evolving) like other cons. There’s no way, based on this experience, I’d pay MORE to return, that’s laughable and insulting. I will definitely see you in the near future!!! ❤

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  2. I was literally in the best spot in the whole room, directly under a light, directly in front of the door.
    The long hours and stress of everything still barely made it worth it. I have to say the customers were AMAZING, but I can’t say the same for the convention itself. There was much left to be desired.

    Also, At the end of every convention this year I have donated some art to the AA staff for doing a good job.
    I gave a good amount of sticker packs to the AA head to share with her helpers and she annoyingly and loudly said ” Thanks for the Sugar Honey Ice Tea” (…what a “nice” way of saying shit.)

    I don’t get upset easily, but after that hell of a weekend I nearly broke into tears.
    Every bit of positive energy i had left just pooffed away. :<

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    • WOW I like, cannot even believe what I’m reading. How could any human ever have such an attitude? Like it’s beyond my comprehension. That’s seriously awful and I can’t believe anyone treated you that way, you’re genuinely one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. I’m so sorry they made you feel this way 😦 Suffice it to say, I now see literally no reason to ever participate in this Artist Alley ever again. I hope other artists considering the con find this post and read these comments and come to the same conclusions…

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