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Author Topic: Artist Alley dispersal: Open discussion  (Read 622 times)
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Artist Alley dispersal: Open discussion
« on: November 24, 2010, 01:58:30 pm »

At A-fest in particular, with three different "artist alley" areas, I heard a lot of complaining from different artists, and a lot of people (or just a few more vocal people) saying that an artist alley should be kept in one specific area. Being very green to the whole con artist (lol) business, myself, I wonder if that's really a viable solution.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but generally, it's believed that a majority of congoers do not seek out the artist's alley, and so must be tricked into visiting it, right?

Example: Ah, the Dealer's Room? Why, it's right over there, just beyond the sea of starving artists! Muahaha!

BUT another huge complaint at A-fest was artists being "shafted" by getting stuck in "bad spots." We all pretty much know about this already. Reality is, yes, there were definitely problems with A-fest's artist's alley, but I think part of the root cause was a weird hotel layout, and too many artists, not enough moolah to go around. There were maybe fifteen SUPER FANTASTIC spots, and then all the other spots were just bad, some worse than others. Which brings me to the point of this topic: Artist Dispersal Theory*

Scenario: You're the Artist's Alley head for Imaginary-Con 7. I-Con's attendance has been growing very steadily, and is predicted to hit 4,000 this year, but you've moved to a brand new location: Friendly Inn and Suites, in downtown Chillville. The con head is giving you complete control over the AA, and Friendly Inn is letting you do whatever the hell you want! The power is yours! What will you do, layout-wise?

I'm leaving this open to a lot of assumptions, and a lot of factors are left out so you can say "well, if A is like this, B should be like this, but if A is like something else, B should be like something else." Because every con has its own variables.

I started to propose the following:

"Artists are dispersed throughout the convention's entirety in groups of three or four, placed in various "optimum spots." There's a group near registration, a group near the Dealer Room entrance..." But then I realized that, this SOUNDS okay at first, but even if I was going with a big ratio of 120 congoers to one artist, I still have to place thirty-three tables, approximately. If I did groups of three or four, well, not only might the artists get lonely, but I'd also run out of optimum spots. We learned at Realms that panel rooms are NOT a draw, we learned at San Japan that being parked outside Main Events was too much draw (though I personally don't mind fantastic traffic 9/10ths of the time and then a line blocking me 1/10th of the time). I could do random islands of four or eight tables, dotting the middles of well-trafficked and properly lit hallways. That would be fun! But then artists might not get the behind-table space I promised.

Just smoke imaginary pipes and conjecture out loud.

*I just made up that term, but I like it!

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Winged Cat Machine
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Re: Artist Alley dispersal: Open discussion
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 02:11:49 pm »

That is a very good (just lost the word) breakdown, however as a frequant attendee and a (one time) artist I feel that there is no right answer. There will always be bad spots and more people then good spots, so some will have to sit in a 'bad' spot. While it is the job of the people to set up the AA they can't make everyone happy, some will just have to make the best of it and try new tactics to draw in cutomers. I hope that didn't sound mean or condisating to anyone.
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Re: Artist Alley dispersal: Open discussion
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 02:33:56 pm »

It's luck of the draw for every artist every time.  Sometimes you get a good spot, sometimes you get a bad one.  There's nothing fair about it, but it's not unfair, either.  If Arist A gets the better spot, Artist B has to take the not as good spot.  And if Artist B gets the good spot, then Artist A has to take the lesser one.  If the lesser table is outright eliminated, one of the artists doesn't get a chance to sell at all.

You know... It wouldn't do much good for artists doing AA tables, but if we set up panels for people who want to do AAs in the future, we could teach them how to cope with location issues.  Dark area?  Bring christmas lights. Smelly area?  Bring Febreeze.  Empty area?  Do a little dance in front of your table.  Loud area?  Bring something big to smash the speakers with. Complain.

I wonder if a more established convention might be able to offer the "crappy tables" at a lower price, with it made perfectly clear that those tables are the ones facing walls and lodged in corners. 
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Re: Artist Alley dispersal: Open discussion
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 04:14:21 pm »

For someone thats sat in the same spot and watched it one year be 'AWESOME' and next year be 'Well...' its not always about the tables themselves.

Sometimes its the convention, sometimes its the weather.  So itd be pretty hard to make 'good table' prices and 'less prime' table prices because it might make artists start drama-ng --

== You stuck SO and So in a NON PRIME and they outsold ME in a PRIME.

I dunno, I prefer all artists together if possible.  It seems the best way to get people to come to the alley. Past that, I have no real input at the moment!

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