I noticed a theme this year in the talks, panels, and workshops that I didn't notice last year. It may have been due to the personalities involved this year, but the theme I noticed time and time again was:
"Viewers of your work will notice the technical mastery of a piece. But more than that they are engaged by, captivated by, and are moved by seeing and understanding (even on a subconscious level), that you give a solid god-damn about your work. "
When you are challenged by your work, in love with it, scared by it, frustrated by it, and you make your way through to the end to finish it off, the viewer can read that emotion in it, can feel the inspiration, and the striving of the artist as he pushes his art forward through this piece and into the next.
That must be an exhausting and invigorating way to create work. I've felt it a few times in recent memory, but not enough to consider myself solidly on this path.
This year, I learned it's necessary to produce lots of ugly work in the process, and a worthy amount of great work as a result.
I'll write more on what I observed and absorbed there later. Right now, I have to hit the drawing board. I attached a few images of the prints that I glommed onto this year. These were just a few of the hundreds of pieces that I would have loved looking at everyday in my own home. But we are all, at some point, slaves to circumstance (and pocketbook).
The pieces are, in order from top to bottom:
"AWOL" by Justin Gerard
"Saint George and the Dragon" by Justin Gerard
"Quiet Night" by John Harris
"Mass: the Building of FTL 1" by John Harris
"Obernywten" by Donato Giancola
"Jovah's Angel" by John Jude Palencar
See you next year at Illuxcon? I'll be there, I hope you will be too.