Fine Arts LA Does Comic Con

I am sure you are familiar with a little event that 125,000 people wait for all year with pennies (and Benjamins) saved up burning holes in hot pockets, costumes begging to be worn after months of design, and bags ready to be filled with loot: the San Diego Comic Convention — or, as I have learned to say, “the Con.”  Starting this past Wednesday to today, collectors, vendors, and spectators made their annual pilgrimage to San Diego to buy and sell wares, take photographs with costumed characters and booth babes, get a few items signed after playing some video games as well as watch discussion and preview panels for TV shows, movies, and industry workshops. Not to mention, catching up with all your con friends  — a total must.

If you happen to not have nerded out with the best of them, the mother of all comic book conventions may have escaped your radar. But with ample friends who fall into the realm of artists of the comic book persuasion, collectors (what up, LASK!), and just straight up nerds (you know I love you), I am fully aware of Comic Con and its power.  My challenge was to find the fine arts at Comic Con.  I know, I know, this is Fine Arts LA and the convention is in San Diego, but this was an experiment all the way around, so I ask for a little flexibility.

Saturday morning, I found myself San Diego-bound on the Surfliner train from Union Station.  Saturday was whiled away at Coronado beach and Lucha Libre tacos – I know, working hard.  Sunday started bright and early.  The convention hall was already in full swing with crowds pushing their way into, around, and from the exhibiting hall.  I really enjoyed the spectacle of it all.  Of course, my favorite part was the costumes. There were packs of Stormtroopers, Hogwarts students, and Jack Sparrows, with a smattering of Lord of the Rings characters and a really good Iron Man. There were the pristine factory-made costumes, but my favorites were the hardcore homemade ones, carefully constructed out of cardboard and metallic paint.  I love DIY.

To be honest, searching high and low, there was little to no fine arts in the traditional sense, but plenty of arts abound.  Illustrators set up booths with stacks of comics and drawings, sculptors showed off their talents with figurines small and large, and painters took centerstage (their subjects revolved around superheros and busty girls). Filmmakers and game developers were in attendance alongside graphic designers galore – not to mention those budding clothing designers.

Aside from the colossal booth installations of the big name production companies, it was a breath of fresh air to see young artists and  entrepreneurs up in the hustle, with plenty of fans eager for more.  No matter how small of a niche business, all of their biggest fans were there – even if there were only three people.  Finding the fine arts at the Con proved to be a difficult task, but I did have a good time sorting through the popular arts.  The overall sense of camaraderie was comforting, a feeling that can be found in the art world of the most highest or lowest of brows .  It was like Art Basel…in an alternate universe.

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