Hey guys how’s it going? Today I want to spotlight an integral part of an anime convention the Artist Alley. I also want to explain why they are essential to every media convention and spotlight some vendors that I know and love their work that travel to conventions all over the country. I hope this post is helpful to someone who enjoys helping out people as much as I do plus at your next convention check this area out if you missed it.
Now I am sure if you have gone to an anime convention, you would know what an artist alley is but if you haven’t been, here is the definition according to the creators of the anime convention, San Japan.
“Artist Alley is a place where talented individuals showcase their art and more. You can find unique handmade art, shirt, keychains, pins, etc. Really, there is something for anyone! Artist Alley is a place made up of fans who create for fans. It’s a room full of people who all share a similar love for anime and its culture. Supporting our beloved and creative artists are one of the ways that you can help keep the San Japan growing strong.“
So, if we use that definition, it is essentially art/merch created by fans who enjoy similar anime/fandom that we do right? Yes, but also no. Most of the time people bring fanart to present to their fellow fans but there are also some people who have their own art that they create without fanart that they can present at anime conventions as well, but it has the style and cute/kawaii factor that fits right into the artist alley.
This is not official Merch
The Keyword though, is its ART not official merch most of the time, so if you are wanting official merchandise from let’s say Great Eastern Entertainment for anime merch, the artist alley is not where you can find it. What you can find however are inexpensive alternatives of fan created work that helps out a fellow fan who loves what you love.
Why they are an integral part of an media convention
To me personally, I believe that artist alleys are an integral part of a media convention because of these three reasons.
- Brings Extra Exposure to new media to consume
- Brings like-minded fans together to create friendly discussion among friends
- Creates Networking opportunities for future works/media
Without at least the top two reasons for me personally, I probably would not know about certain media or have amazing people I call my friends in my life. The last is definitely important if you want to be an Artist professionally.
Inspiration: Artist Alley @ Anime Matsuri
Before I discuss a few vendors that I personally recommend. I wanted to acknowledge that recently I was able to attend Anime Matsuri’s version of an Artist Alley as a press passholder and take photos for vendors who granted me permission to do so. I also had some thoughts about it as an attendee.
One, there are some artistic small businesses that were able to be in the exhibition hall and not artist alley. I do not know if that is a regular occurrence or not with this convention, but for me personally, it threw me off. I also was told from several vendors that there was not a personal sign to indicate where Artist Alley was until Saturday (when I took the feature photo) so some attendees couldn’t find the artists they wanted to see. I also was thrown off that the different vendors were on different floors which for space I understand, but the Alley I believe in some respects suffered because of it.
Two, I loved the variety of artists that Anime Matsuri allowed to vend there because there were so many different fandoms presented (even more so than the exhibition hall to be honest). I found some fandoms in some of the stores that I do not typically see plus there are some just beautiful arts and craftmanship that I may not have even seen without the alley. Overall, I enjoyed my time at Artist Alley most recently, and thank you so much to the Anime Matsuri Press corps for the opportunity to attend this convention.
Vendors I Recommend
Fantasy Chibi Pins is an artist that I have gotten to be a longtime fan of especially when it comes to their pins. I appreciate their variety of fandoms that they present in their shop but also, they have exclusive clubs that if you love some specific fandoms, you can buy some amazing merch. They also have some Con Exclusive designs so if you see her at a Con snatch that merch up. What they currently have in their store is:
and Ita Bags (Coming soon)
Check Them Out!!!
Mimopuffs is an artist that I have loved their social media presence (I also love their mascot its adorable). Because of that, this convention was my chance to buy some of their merch. Some of it can be used in everyday life and there is a variety of fandoms out there (some even more to come I was told). They also have some Con Exclusive deals so if you see them at a Con snatch that merch up. What they currently have in their store is:
and Phone Grips
Check Them Out!!
This Artist was an unexpected find for me at Artist Alley and one of those that I fell in love with when I saw the artwork (that’s mostly original with some small fanart here and there) But one of my favorite parts of this booth was actually talking to the friend of the artist who was manning the booth because they actually lived nearby and were an artist themselves. Now I am definitely going to keep an eye on both of them as artists and hope to buy more from them another time. What they currently have in their store is:
Check them out!!
I hope you enjoy this Artist Alley post! What about you guys? How do you feel about Artist Alleys at Anime Conventions? Let’s talk about it!!
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