Tuesday, July 15, 2014


ICON 8 Main Stage at the Portland Art Museum
(Stage set created by Jason Holley)
I just came back from a half week trip to Portland, Oregon for the ICON 8 Conference. This was my second time attending ICON, the Illustration CONference. Though I wasn't as awed by the presentations as I was at the last ICON and slightly inconvenienced by the distances of the venues, I met a lot of amazing people and made some wonderful friends.

Here was the line-up:

WEDNESDAY/// Workshops/Educators Papers Presentation and Roundtable/Party at PNCA
Neighborhood around PNCA
I arrived after noon on Wednesday and didn't attend any of the workshops that day. But I went to Powell's Bookstore where many of the print-loving attendees were already buying buying buying! I forgot to pack my Jon Klassen books to have signed so I bought them again, along with another Carson Ellis' book.

THURSDAY/// Workshops/Educators Papers Presentations//Opening Ceremonies & Keynote/The Roadshow
"Above & Below" Mural
(Created by Brian Rea & his workshop crew)
Another day of workshops. My roommate Moira was in Brian Rea's* 2-day workshop where they created a tape mural for the conference room. From what I heard, it was a miraculously collaborative process. The resulting mural is stunningly packed with ideas that coheres beautifully. 

*BTW, there was a running joke throughout the conference of how often "Brian Rea" will come up in conversation because he is "dreamy," according to Mark Heflin. I am not one to refute the claim.

I attended "Dances with Illustrators" workshop with Lisa Kelsey, the Art Director of Family Circle magazine. I learned a lot about finding illustrators from an art director's perspective. Though one's work may not always fit a publication, art directors may move to other publications and talk to other art directors. Ultimately illustrators must do good work, promote it, and be a professional when it comes to communication, delivery, and interpersonal relationships. 
Zines from the workshop I attended.
Row 1: Japanese Snacks by Akiko Kato // All the Universe Contained in a Single Cheetoh by Andrew Benson // Put it on a Stick by Johnny Acurso // It's Snack Time by Misa Saburi // They're too much FUN(yun) by J. McCarthy // Requiem for a Nut by www.phermann.com // Salty Snacks by Levi Hastings // Eat (or Drink) by unknown
Row 2: Phood Calls by Steven Pillai // Snacks by Pauren Pettapiece // Snack with Me by Sounion Hong // No Snack by apwestcott.com // Foblish: On Snack by Ginnie Hsu // Main Event by Hernan Valencia // The Many Faces of Shame by Gordon Montgomery // Pasta Bliss by Alice Young
Row 3: Eye Poppin' Good by unknown // Snacks for Charlotte by Jean Tuttle // Le Snack by Lar Refn // Apathetic Snaxs by Zoë Mcguire // Jeto's Favorite Snacks by Dan-ah Kim // What Do They Have in Common by valerydesignwrks.ca // Yes, I Do by Steve Hughes // Snake Snacks by natalya.com

I also attended "Zine Extravaganza" workshop with Kate Bingham-Burt and Jennifer Daniels. In 2.5 hours, the class created an 8-page zine around the theme of "Snacks." Can you tell which one is mine? If you can see inside these zines, you'll see how talented and different everyone is. 

FRIDAY/// Presentations/Land Gallery
A full day of presentations ending in a gallery reception. There were many great speakers for the day. I expected to love Jennifer Daniels & Alicia Desantis, Carson Ellis, and Calef Brown but an unexpected highlight was the talk "Google Spotlight Stories" with Jan Pinkava.

The evening event was a reception at the Land Gallery for the WORK+PLAY Show held in conjunction with the conference and featuring attending illustrators. The piece I submitted was chosen for the show. 
Land Gallery
Me and my colorful little piece in the gallery.
The idea for my piece "Moved Movers I" (yes, there's going to be a II) came from taking a class on Metaphysics of Theism and reading Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles. Prints from the show are available for sale until August 24, 2014. A philosophy professor friend of mine asked to use the image in his Aquinas talk next semester, which makes me SO happy because it perfectly satisfies the purpose of this piece.

SATURDAY/// Presentations/Closing Night Party
Bearing Witness
Another day of great speakers. I expected to love Jon Klassen & Mac Barnett and Souther Salazar, but was pleasantly surprised by Andrea Dezso, the "Bearing Witness" talk and the Kaleidoscope talks. I was surprised by Andrea Dezsö simply because I didn't know who she was. I met her later in the evening and she is as nice as nice can be. The "Bearing Witness" talk was with Victor Juhasz and Janet Hamlin, who are journalistic illustrators sketching on the battlefield, in the veteran hospitals, and at Gitmo. Illustrators usually sketch a guy walking by with his bum hanging out or an eccentric old lady waiting for the bus, but these speakers sketch history!
Closing Party @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
I took sporadic and horrible pictures throughout this conference because I was too occupied to take pictures. I promise I'll do better next time. Here's one from the closing night party exemplifying how horrible my pictures truly are.

Post ICON posts by other attendees:
Chronicle Book's Advice to Illustrators
Kelly McMorris
Pat Higgins: Part 1
Varoom Mag
Kelly Leigh Miller
Ellen Weinstein
Colin Hayes
Meg Hunt: Part 1
Jamie Hogan
Andy J. Miller's Kaleidoscope Talk

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