This past weekend I had the opportunity to take part in the adventure of TCAF as wiTHIN was debuting. I have gone in the past but up until this weekend, I have never been a vender showing off art and material. Not being an artist myself (I draw stick people!!), but the author of wiTHIN, I found the whole experience to be quite fascinating.
First of all, there were tons of people, both venders and attendees! Even though it was held at the Reference Library in Toronto, it was crowded. People who had came on the first day, returned on the second as they had not even reached the second floor of the exhibit. And of the people who attended, some were in costume, others with funky hair do’s and colours, cool tights and interesting tattoos. Old, young, even sleeping babies! People drove/flew across provinces and over the boarder to attend or participate in this event. The energy in the room was happy and fun, which made selling product quite enjoyable and entertaining.
It was encouraging as it was the first time wiTHIN made such a public appearance since being available for purchase online. Through word of mouth and online marketing, individuals came specifically looking to buy the book. This was encouraging to both myself and Emily McGratten for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it is always an honour when people are interesting in buying pieces of art or material you have created, but secondly, that there was a shared passion in the message and purpose of what we were doing. Many people could either directly relate to the message of wiTHIN, knew of someone who had or is struggling, or felt this was a topic that needed to be talked about more in the open.
What I also enjoyed about TCAF was the variety in art displayed as well as diversity in experience. From anime, to screen printing and well-known artists to first time vendors. There was room for us all, and all with a story of some sort to tell! Next up for wiTHIN is the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival on May 24-25th. Check it out!