Looking back and looking forward
It is finally over and we are home again, feeling exhausted and excited at the same time.
The past few days I've been trying to catch up with my works, leaving me very little time to think about the trip until today, I can finally sit down and recollect my thoughts. Honestly I don't write often, but the experience I had for this Comic-Con was definitely worth writing for.
This year we had 8 imaginary friends attending the conference. It was my 2nd SDCC, but it was my first time traveling with such a big group of friends. Edmund, Kunkka, Kai, Junkman, King Mong, Sunny, Stephen any myself setting off to San Diego 2 days before the event. Our luggages were packed with the new Imagine Prime artbooks to be given away to the people we planned to meet along the way. The books were heavy, but our hearts were light, as we knew that it would be fun to share our art, which we had poured our heart and soul into, with others.
We've met so many people during the 4-days event. Ed and Stephen were busy running around setting up meetings with our clients. The rest of us went from booth to booth to our favourite artists and gave them our new artbooks. Many of these artists were our childhood heroes and we grew up reading their books or seeing their art on movies posters, inspiring us to be artists. It was a thrilling experience for us to meet them face to face, showing them our book, sharing with them our passion in art, not just as fanboys but as artists too who work in the same industry handling similar projects. However, what surprised me most was not how much they love our works, which we were very honoured as we heard that, but it was how humble and approachable they were even though some of them were recognized as the art legends of the industry.
That really got me thinking for a while.
Looking at how much IFS has grown for the past 2 years. From a small setup of 4 partners to a total of 40 men studio in both Singapore and Jakarta, the growth is tremendous and sometimes scary. On one hand it had shown that our approach to this industry is right to come together as a group of artists, sharing our strengths and working together as a studio instead of individuals. On the other hand it has also given us, as employers, a greater challenge and responsibility to take care of the team and meet their needs.
We know that in this creative business, artists are the key assets and they are as important as our clients. As artists ourselves, we also realize that we are an emotional bunch of people that requires special attention. No matter how professional we are as artists, often the quality of works are still greatly affected by our emotional state. Although some people may find it being emotional is being unprofessional, I personally feel that managing our feelings well will result in creating artworks that touch people's heart rather than a mere eye-candy.
As a studio living by the motto of "By Artists, for artists", we ensure maximum transparency and honesty within the team. Just like our name suggests, we are working like a group of friends rather than colleagues that share common passion and vision. Since inspirations often come from our experience of life, we are interested in each other's life and always ready to share the joy or offer a helping hand when called for. It is a studio culture we value a lot and it is what makes us unique.
Looking back at this year's comic con, one thing that caught my interest was how the artists chose to relate themselves to the industry. Some artists preferred to go solo and were happy to be at their own table doing their own things, enjoying occasional chat with the fans and artists next door. Some if them got fancy looking booths with sale agents like the presidents' bodyguards, introducing the artist's works with a money tag. However, what impressed me most was seeing great artists like Justin Sweet, Marshall Vandruff, Vance Kovacs and John Dickenson come together as a studio, without fancy banners and signages, situated at a suburb location of the con. Looking at them was like looking at a yearly reunion of friends.
They were so friendly and approachable. When they flipped thru our book, they did it carefull and full of curiosity. In front of them, we felt like a group of art amateurs eagerly waiting for the masters' words of wisdom. However, the way that talked to us was so encouraging and filled with respect. It made us feel like a part of the community.
I was telling myself, if we have a chance to go back to SDCC twenty years later, probably it will be our 20th year as exhibitor, can we be still as approachable to others like Marshall? Will the success that we achieve along the way blind us or build us stronger in relationship? Can the founders of IFS still believe and respect each other and remain the same level of transparency? I strongly believe we can, if we consistently check our hearts and not taking each other for granted. At the end of the day, what is to gain if we win the world but lose our souls?
I am very excited about the cool projects that are coming to our way and I am looking forward to build a studio with everyone in IFS that makes both "imagination" and "friends" shine to their brightest.
MY DA INTERVIEW
For those who wanna know a little bit more about me, you can find the interview here:news.deviantart.com/article/20…
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