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The Showdown that Was Always Meant to Be!

Hello fellow nerds!

I am here to share about one of the most impactful weeks of my life, and art career. I am talking about Pensacon 2023! What a completely new and different experience this Pensacon was for me compared to my previous ones! In fact, this was easily the best one I have ever been to! 

Allow me to start with the first day of the convention, Friday. You see, I have made an effort to consistently make an appearance as an art vendor at Gallery Night every month. For those that do not know, Gallery Night is an evening where the main street of downtown Pensacola (Palafox) shuts down and reemerges as a festival of vendors, artists, food, drinks and music! In a traditionally planned move, Gallery Night was scheduled to take place during the same weekend of Pensacon instead of its classic third Friday of the month. Being a local here for a couple of years, I knew this was going to be another huge chance for me to get my work out there to a much more consistent target audience. 

Moreover, I had learned that a specific pair of voice actors were going to make it to the convention this year. I knew that I had to meet them, and more importantly that I needed them to sign a piece of art I made during the pandemic. This piece was one of two flagships that I used to launch my art business with grandeur. It was a piece that began as a simple commission from a good friend, but evolved into something so much more. It was a piece that captured the most iconic moment from the best animated show of my childhood. I am talking about The Final Agni Kai inspired by the ruthless, end of arc battle, betwixt combatants Zuko and Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender. These characters' voice actors Dante Bosko (Prince Zuko) and Grey Delisle (Princess Azula) are the pair that were going to make an appearance at Pensacon. I knew this would be one of the most important decisions of my art career was to get those two voice actors to sign my painting. 

I brought my piece to Dante Bosko Friday before Gallery Night started and got his signature. As if being a fan of him already for portraying Prince Zuko wasn't enough, he acted as Rufio from Hook and Ramos from Take the Lead, which were two iconic movies of my childhood growing up. I was so starstruck that I could barely even keep my composure. I may have used the word “umpteenth” straight out of nervousness! After that fun moment, I sought out Grey but was informed she would not arrive in time for me to get her signature Friday. So I waited until I would get her Signature Sunday when I could come back. 

That night at Gallery Night, I made a killing in sales, especially on my Final Agni Kai prints. Once people saw that my Final Agni Kai painting was signed by Dante Bosko, their jaws dropped like a routine. It was hilarious to see that I was not the only one who felt the man was an absolute legend. My friends were there as usual to hang out all night, help me break down, and go celebrate with a feast of loud shanties and debauchery alike.

Saturday pulled up and I was unable to go to any of the Pensacon events because I could not afford to purchase a ticket in time. Instead, I spent the day with my love enjoying Palafox market, having one of our delightfully productive and intellectual coffee dates, then spamming some gaming until the last big day was to come, Sunday.

Sunday had finally arrived and I had one mission to complete, get Grey Delsisle to sign my agni kai painting. We arrived super early which got us right at the front of the line to meet her. It was a good thing too because that line built up so fast! I nervously waited to meet her because this was such a huge mission for me! At the time of waiting, our friend Jenny had joined us in line. Funny enough, she was the exact same friend who commissioned me to make the original digital version The Final Agni Kai in the first place. Then there she was, Grey Deslisle! She had congratulated me on my amazing painting and told me that she had been signing prints of it all convention long. What an honor it was to have my work recognized by the iconic Azula herself! She signed my work, told me to tag her on Instagram so she could work out a way to have my prints for her to sign at future conventions, then banished me from the fire nation, twice! 

After that, we went in line for my friend Jenny to meet Dante Bosko. He and his manager had recognized my painting and I from Friday. They then both mentioned the same thing as Grey, that Dante had been signing prints of my painting all weekend long! I mean wow, what another huge honor it was to get again! She took my handle down and said she wanted to work out a way to get my prints for him to sign at future conventions. To say I walked out of that convention feeling so proud of myself might just be an understatement. 

That may have been the end of the convention, but the hype was about to completely pop off. Little did I expect, that as I was writing this blog about Pensacon, was the utter tidal wave of sales and support I got from sharing about it all in the first place! I can not believe the outstanding traction of attention the posts I made on social media received. These are screenshots I took just 5 days after Pensacon at 10:30am on Friday the 3rd of March. This is seriously the most attention my work and I have received in my entire life. I am completely saturated with gratitude. I have worked so hard on my art my whole life with such little to no concessional or fiscal reward. Now in one short week, it feels like I can barely handle all the praise, congratulations, and support. I have come back around believing in myself and my art in ways that I have not felt since before the many years of darkness I shared in my first blog. It's almost like I feel as if I have emerged from a long dark tunnel to another side full of brightness and opportunity. 

Speaking of bright opportunities, I have been trying to get back in contact with Grey Delisle and Dante Bosko about their interest in my prints. While I still have not yet succeeded, I am not giving up until I reach them both! I will be sharing what becomes of my interactions on my newsletter and social media. I also want to share that I have big plans for the business, but you will only receive that kind of information when you are subscribed to my newsletter! If you have not done that yet, then what are you waiting for?? It's on the main page of my website!

Anyways, that's all for now. The future is finally looking bright again and I am all in! Have a great day and I’ll see you in a bit!