Angry Artist Alley: The Origin

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Okay, so you might have wondered: Why is this blog called Angry Artist Alley?

Well, today you finally get to hear a history lesson ^_^

………..

Actually, I’m writing this because of some shenanigans that people think this is some sort of negative blog about artist alley or whatever….like, 9 months ago? I’m sure I’m the only one who cares about it now, but I knew one day someone would start a riot about it, as all bloggers get some sort of shit for speaking their opinion online. In the end, it was just a bunch of oversensitive people, haters, and someone whom I assume didn’t like my response to them so they started a riot on 4chan about me with false information. But *anyhow*…

Hopefully this clears up a lot of complications or future complications, or whatever:

Why is the title of this blog series ‘Angry Artist Alley’?
The title of this blog, ‘Angry Artist Alley’, was a joke my friends and I made many, many, MANY years ago in my younger years of tabling. I would be very eager and excited at the beginning of conventions, and by the time the convention ended, I would end up flipping tables (metaphorically, of course). It didn’t matter if business was good or bad, I always felt angry at the end. So my friends described the situation ‘Angry Artist Alley’. I don’t think I really feel this way anymore…I’m used tabling now. So no, Angry Artist Alley is not a hate blog about why I hate artist alley, it was a joke about how people saw me at the end of conventions. If you ever met me in real life, I’d highly doubt you’ll ever see me angry. Oh yea, and ‘Angry’ started with the letter ‘A’, and if I used the word ‘awesome’, I felt it would have given a more false representation of artist alley if it was your first time tabling. Not that my first time was bad, but I’ve seen people on the verge of tears before.

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Why did I write this blog?
When I was in college, my website teacher made us create a blog and write articles. He convinced us that by writing weekly blog articles, more traffic would come to our art websites. One week, I ran out of ideas of people i could interview or document for a blog article. Whelps, guess I’ had to write about something else…
Back when I was doing research on artist alley, I was really shocked to find little to nothing about artist alley (I know, crazy, right?). Like, maybe two decent articles? Tumblr was very underground at that time. It struck me that I had tabled for more than half a decade, and there was a recent frustration I had at the latest tabling incident–someone claimed my tape as theirs! OH NO THE AGONY! (sarcasm) So I wrote an article about how I solved the problem. I guess people liked it, and wanted me to write more. Then people started voicing their own problems or asked me about how to solve some, and so on. Knowing that I was practically invisible and unknown on the internet, it wouldn’t really do much harm if a nobody talked about these issues. About a few articles in, I decided to name all the articles ‘Angry Artist Alley’, thus, the series began. But seriously, this blog isn’t about hating artist alley.
Tl:DR: It started out as a weekly homework assignment from my website teacher.

Is all the information based on your own experience?
IT IS NOT. Actually, I’ve been tabling long enough to be a ‘regular’ artist at Bay Area Conventions. I’ve made many friends behind artist alley, and we’re comfortable talking about our problems in artist alley and how we fixed them. Some artists I’ve only met once or twice in person but keep in touch online. Some are in San Diego, some in Seattle, some in New York, etc etc. I understand many artists don’t want to tarnish their name with opinions, so I just take the burden and I usually write the information under my own name (so if you have any concerns with artist alley, don’t worry it’ll be a secret between me and you).  Although the majority of experience is my own, a chunk of it is based on many other artist’s experiences.

How ‘experienced’ am I?
Okay, so I’m just adding this in because some people believe i just fart all sorts of shit about artist alley. Every single ‘personal story’ in this blog are absolutely real stories from my life. I started in early highschool. The very first experiences I had was sharing tables with BAAU (Bay Area Artists Unite) selling small pinback buttons…somewhere around 2005? The bay area had more closer conventions, so at some point, I’d be going to nine conventions a year (and back then you didn’t have to fight for the whole first-come-first-serve thing like we do now in the Bay Area). Other than tabling at the BAAU table for about a year, I didn’t really have any mentors or whatever, and went through a LOT of bad experiences. You learn from your mistakes, I guess. Nowadays, we have internet tutorials and guides for practically everything. Back then we just ranted about it to our tablemates and hope we learn something from it.

However, I didn’t really table for a year around 2013. I went through some serious depression issues. Two artists got me out of it: Tone Rodriguez and Toshio Maeda (yes, THE godfather of tentacle porn). Then I tabled all of 2014 because I needed the extra cash boost to get to Emerald City Comic Con. Soon after, someone on Tumblr said I should stop tabling at artist alley until I improve, so I decided to stop tabling until 2016.

Your blog has a lot of topics.
That’s because I’ve been tabling for about a decade. And I’ve never been an expert at tabling–I went through a LOT of things. I mean, if I didn’t go through so much trial and error, I wouldn’t have so much to say about it. If you just popped in with god-like skills, then you probably wouldn’t have as many problems to deal with.

Some of the topics are very harsh. 
Back when I wrote it, it really wouldn’t matter if people bashed on me because I was non-existent online. I had about two thousand views on my deviantart and I had nothing to protect. My older articles are a lot harsher than my newer articles.

There was some shennanigan where people were complaining my articles ‘scared’ them and other newcomers from tabling, and ironically, they ended up having a great time. Seriously though, I never guaranteed anyone that their first time tabling was going to be good or bad. My first time was freakin amazing, but I’ve seen some people on the verge of tears when they table their first time.

So to prevent that drama again, I have to write disclaimers on my articles *sigh*

Is there anything you won’t write about?
Yes. I will never write an article that concentrates on fanart vs. original art. It’s too controversial. If I take one side, I’ll get bashed by the other side. If I take both sides, I get bashed by BOTH sides.
Another one is mentioning if you think your art sucks. I once posted this phrase and the artist alley facebook group blew up. The irony is that for a whole week, a number of people were just describing how my art was terrible and that I shouldn’t be selling at artist alley (PLUS some were on that same facebook group too). So like, I guess my art sucks, but I can’t say that? =_=’

Do you do well at conventions?
I’d say I’m just average. I’m pretty good with holding conversations with people, but when it comes to sales, it’s average. Nowadays, I have more fun talking to people who visit my table than actually buying my work (since it’s likely they already have something because I’ve tabled for so long at Bay Area conventions)
You probably won’t believe me on this, but I used to earn at least twice as much in my earliest days of selling at conventions compared to today’s conventions. Now that I have a more sustainable amount of income, I will be taking advantage of conventions more for pursuing personal projects instead of trying to make profits from it.

Have you ever had an actual good artist alley experience?
Yes.

Are you actually angry?
I was told I used to have anger issues in highschool, but it completely subsided after college.

Will you write future Angry Artist Alley articles?
Yes, but much, MUCH more infrequently. I already promised myself that articles will subside the moment someone sends a hate mail to me about it, and that has already happened.

Seeing as there’s like…over 30 articles, I am PRETTY sure I’ve covered the most important topics. If you ever have questions, feel free to ask. If you have a concern or problem, I’ll listen. Like I said, I do keep artist alley problems anonymous and write it under my own name. I completely understand what kind of problem it may cause for an artist to say something stupid on the internet. For me, unfortunately, it’s too late, so meh :T

Are you a good role model for Artist Alley?
According to the people who don’t like my blog articles, no I’m a shitty role model.

I hate your art, you shouldn’t be selling it for that price.
Thanks. Enlighten me and tell me why.
If you feel no one should buy my work at all, that’s totally fine! Let me share half your artist alley table (I’ll pay for the entire table too!), and I’ll give out free drawings and free sketch requests for the whole day! I’ll even advertise that the table will be giving out the free art too! It’s not like people should pay for the art at artist alley, right?

What’s wrong with Angry Artist Alley?
This blog is supposed to be about troubleshooting, which is why there are so many ‘problems’ indicated in this blog. Obviously, people walk in the blog, not prepared for that, and then they become very sensitive about it, and feel that I am too negative about artist alley. I mean, the title of the blog series should have indicated *something*.

What are your future plans for Artist Alley?
I feel like shit right now. I mean, I feel better after not tabling for a while (suddenly all the drama disappeared), and I’ve got a lot of things I plan to do. Yesterday I had my first episode of carpal tunnel syndrome in the middle of the night. But here’s some insight for the following year:

I bet you didn’t know I was in 12 anthologies, since 2005. Only two of them were fan art. And for all the anthologies, I mean comic submissions. I bet you didn’t know that either. That’s because my work is flooded with fanart (that, and posting the comics online defeats the point of having the incentive to buy the thing). I hope to change this in the upcoming year. I may have a shitton of fanart in my online store, but there will be some conventions where I won’t sell a speck of it. I hope my original art will be a bit more prominent in the future.

I’m going to be tabling a LOT less than before (maybe about 3 times a year), but try and earn money to travel to further conventions (as advised by some anonymous person on tumblr). I’ll probably be updating my online shop with an average of 3 new fan art miniprints a month, and shipping will be cheap, for anyone who is still looking for that stuff. But for some conventions, I may not be selling any of that at all, and just my original art.
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random illustration print to break up all the text :P

What did you learn from writing this blog?
I learned there was a huge influx of artists from the beginning of writing this blog to what it is now (like I mentioned before, there wasn’t much info about AA when I started making this). I learned that artist alley changes within time, that the perspective of what artist alley should be changes over time. It has evolved into a battle of fanart and getting pissy over not getting a table (well, in the Bay Area it is). I wonder what generation of artists are the ones who began scorning others over sites like Tumblr and 4chan. From this experience, I learned that the worst people in artist alley aren’t crazy customers, but the artists who scorn you for your work, for any action they deem inconsiderate, or for just being there. I am very sure it was not like this when I began tabling, but the atmosphere has definitely changed over the years. Or maybe the internet is bringing light to all this for me. I don’t know. I’m sure if I tabled where no one knew me, I’d feel a lot safer.

What will future blog articles be about?
Well, it won’t be Angry Artist Alley, that’s for sure. Art, sculptures, interviews, panels, photography, preorders, whatever.

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