Alessandra Pisano, momentarily overwhelmed while accepting the Rising Star award

I went out to SFAL this year with no booth and no real mission other than to reconnect with friends and to enjoy our community. For me, that is the one thing that only a convention (and only certain ones at that) can deliver. Since I was flying solo for the weekend, free of responsibilities and surrounded by people who inspire me, it seemed like creating a photo journal of the trip would be a good project.

I found this brought on an interesting inside-but-also-outside feeling. For example, having a good time at a late night party but still wandering off occasionally to see what else is happening and catch any good moments I might otherwise miss. My thought was I could try, as a conscious effort, to observe things from a bit more of a neutral distance. Inevitably though, I found the story that my photos were telling to be playing heavily to my social comfort zones. In other words, I often hang out with certain folks at these events and they were showing up disproportionately in my shots. If there’s anything I feel I missed out on, it was not getting a wider representation of people, friends and strangers alike. In the end though, it’s a document of the show as I saw it: a story of aspirations, friendships, and the massive tapestry of respect and admiration which holds our very special community together.

See the full set on my Flickr

Talking art at the Alamo Drafthouse
opening night party

James Gurney giving a lively demo

Mark Nelson (left) fliping through his
originals with Daren Bader

Booth neighbors Laura Garabedian (left)
and Mariya Prytula  chatting mid show

Lingering audience members getting an
up close look at some J.A.W. Cooper originals after her demo

Making dinner plans during a brief

Dawn Carlos (far right) preparing to
turn a T-Rex loose on the life drawing session

Donato Giancola sketching

George Pratt painting at the
Illustration Academy booth

Voler – Thieves of Flight

Laurie Lee Brom presenting a gold award
to Brom. It’s a rare and touching moment to see an award
presenter honor their spouse

Newly minted Spectrum Grand Master Bill
Sienkiewicz at the award show afterparty

Lauren Panepinto and Jerry Trapp fixing
up amazing cocktails for what would be the shortest
lived room party
I have ever seen (busted up by The Man)

The gorgeous newly designed Spectrum
Award, sculpted by J Anthony Kosar, sitting triumphantly on Bill
Carman’s table

Con besties Travis Lewis and Alessandra

Some down time in the mezzanine

The late night crew heading back to
hotels after closing down the Alamo Drafthouse bar

Spectrum 24 award winners