As some artists, we sit behind artist alley to get pocket cash, exposure, you know the stuff. From budgets, to transportation/living, horrible customers, and well…if you never sat behind artist alley, you have no idea. And if you have…ever feel frustrated? You’ve got stories? Concerns? Questions? Ask away! I know there have been people who have sat behind cons before me, but I’ve started around 2004, and I walked in with absolutely no guidance (aka. i screwed up a LOT). So I learned through my mistakes, acquired more than just a handful of stories, and I’ve seen my peers and table mates go through it all too. I don’t mean a convention a year, I mean an average about six a year.
I am introduced to new convention artists every year, either online or in real life. I’m often asked about what to bring, and you should consider the following:
1) BRING A BOTTLE OF WATER. For anyone who says ‘it’s my first time’, I will ask them ‘hey did you bring a bottle of water?’ I didn’t notice it in the first couple times I went or saw someone experience it. But about six hours later, people would feel like they’d get a headache, or woosy or well….seemed more tired than normal. It’s because of DEHYDRATION. This is an incredibly simple but important rule–drink water. A gulp or two every hour, make sure to do it. I have seen people pass out, leave early, terrible headaches, etc. And when you’re done drinking that water bottle, make sure to refill it afterwards. You’re practically selling yourself and talking for hours, you need to quench your throat. Don’t want to end up mute the next day.
story: I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends after a heavy night of artist alley. During the meal, she really felt like crap, and when we left the place, someone was helping her out to the hotel, while one arm was over their shoulder, pretty much passed out reaching the hotel. Apparently she didn’t drink water all day until dinner. The next morning, a few hours after Artist Alley had begun, she came back to the table, and still had a headache.
2) A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER. I love to tell this to people. Mostly girls. And this one sounds really odd, and not everyone needs to bring it. But I would recommend it. See, imagine that this place has about 2,000 people in one day, and there’s only three bathrooms in the building. Now imagine that each building has 10 stalls, and there’s a line of people waiting for each stall, in every bathroom. Imagine how many times the janitor walks in to refill the toilet paper in that 10 hours. Get it? Besides, there’s always the watercolor artist who accidentally spills too.
story: Actually, there have been tons of moments where the bathroom ran out of toilet paper and I had my own roll in my hand. I remember one time someone asked for some toilet paper from me too. BOO-YAH.
imagine finding a bathroom stall here with toilet paper after the first hour.
I’ll also note this photo was taken OUTSIDE of the convention too.
3) ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL. This isn’t something to bring, but something to consider. This is a very easy way to get lunch without everyone having to get off their table to get some grub. Get a
lackey table helper to buy the food for you. But it is very polite and helpful for the other table mates next to you to chip in the money for everyone to get some grub too. With chipped in money, you can buy bulk and split the food for everyone (pizza is great). Anyways, in this method, you can sit on your ass a little longer and someone will get you your food. But this is only if your table mate is a sweety pie.
tip: Don’t forget to take tons of napkins before you leave the food store. And forks/spoons if you need it.
story: Wonderful table mate asked me what I’d want for lunch. I gave them some money, said I didn’t care as long as there was meat, and the four (was it five?) of us just chilled out eating lunch. Ever since, when it was my turn to buy lunch, I will always ask the people sitting next to me if they wanted anything. Of course, we’d take turns buying food for each other ;)
4)SNACKS. Despite sitting all day and just talking to people, you’re still going to end up hungry if you’re not careful. Bring a healthy snack like nuts (assuming you’re not allergic). They’re good for you, and it’s a good snack for energy.
story: I’m so surprised at how some people are super prepared for snacks. One time I had a bag of almonds, and I offered some, and my table mate was like ‘Oh don’t worry, I’m prepared!’ She uncovered a crapwad of Japanese snacks and other stuff, and we just munched of that stuff ALL DAY.
5)WHAT DO YOU SMELL LIKE? Make sure you are wearing deodorant, and hopefully keeping up with making sure gunk isn’t in your teeth and your breath is minty fresh. And if you have to fart, make sure you don’t do it like crazy behind your table.
And that’s it for this week’s topic of ‘ANGRY ARTIST ALLEY’!
EXTRA! There are places that have very…nasty tasting water. Or maybe water that’s not good for you if you drink too much. Getting a water filter can do MIRACLES. Not enough space space for a giant water filter? Get a water bottle filter! Not enough room for that? Get a water filter straw! Just bring that around when you need to drink water from tap :)