The Young And Hungry Fanartists

I'm noticing a trend at a lot of conventions I've been to lately.  I see a lot of young artists in the dealer's rooms and artist's alleys with a few things in common:

  • They've started selling their art in the last 1-3 years.
  • They have gorgeous, professional business cards and signage.
  • They're reasonably to very-well wired, with websites, porfolios online, and the like.
  • They do a lot of personal branding, even going so far as to dress to fit the theme of their table.
  • Their tables are professionally laid out with the right signage, decoration, and so on.
  • They're big on cross-promoting projects they do together, or with others.

It may just be me, but it seems like I'm seeing a lot of new, young, on-the-ball fanartists with a lot of ambition and professional organization despite being new to the fanart game.  They have all the materials, style, and finesse I'm used to seeing in people who've been around the artists alleys for years.  I've seen enough of this that I actually think this is a trend (though I accept it may just be me connecting data points).

So if I'm not projecting inappropriately, why is this? (If I am just projecting, tell me).

I'd suspect its because a lot of these young people, acquainted with computer tools, highly wired, are both aware of what they need to do for a business, have access to the tools to do it, and probably have a decent understanding of how the world works.  Throw in their knowledge of their geek culture, and they've got everything they need to make a professionally run and professional-looking business presence with relative ease.

This heartens me on many levels – it's nice to see dyanmic, creative people with good business sense making things happen.  Even those who don't turn these ventures into careers will learn, grow, and make opportunities for themselves – as well as have fun.  Those that do turn their fannish ventures into careers will do so early in life, and do so well.

I also suspect the fannish busines scene is going to get more and more "businesslike" with such new entrants.  Already informed, professional, and on the ball, these people will be driving the scene and raising the standard.  Fandom-related businesses are probably going to change because of them.

I look forward to seeing how this evolves . . .

. . . if of course I'm not just projecting.

Steven Savage