Back from the Chroma Connect & Chromacon events! And boy, what an incredible trip. I got to meet my favorite Chinese artist, Benjamin! Had front row seats for his talk, was shaking from my excitement.
He was such a great guy in person. Really friendly, and very wise. I think I was one of the few people there who knew Benjamin before the event (everyone knew him after, since his work is so amazing), but he saw me holding one of his books and was gracious enough to sign it for me!
This was the book that introduced me to Benjamin's work, I stumbled upon it a couple of years ago while browsing a bookstore when I was in China. Never thought I'd actually get to meet the man himself!
I only asked for a signature, but he started drawing a picture as well! When we asked him if he was selling anything, he said he brought 10 copies of his new book with him. I was blown away but how few books he brought, but I guess since he was carrying them himself, it'd be difficult to bring more. I'm glad I was sitting front row, and was able to be one of the few who managed to reserve his book in advance so I could buy it the next day.
This being the book in question. And if I thought his last signature was cool, nothing could have prepared me for how he signed these books...
He used coloured markers + water to fully illustrate these little pictures, and asked my name to sign for. If I ever get this good, that's how I'm signing my name from then on.
He talked about a lot of stuff, and there were so many things he said that surprised me greatly. I asked him a few questions about his thoughts on art, and his mindset, and it made me realize just how many steps ahead he was, not just technically but also mentally. There were a lot of things that opened my eyes this weekend, and I can hardly write it all out here. What I can say is that it was very great to meet him, and I feel happy knowing that aside from being a great artist, he was a really great person too!
To be honest, all the speakers they invited were incredible to meet and listen to, I definitely have some new people I'll be following after this! Most of all would be a man named Jacky Ke Jiang, currently the art director at thatgamecompany (the studio that made Journey). I could probably write ten pages on just how much he impacted me, and the amount of respect and admiration I have for not just his artistic skill, but his outlook on art, life and everything.
When I went to his table the next day, he only had one thing for sale. If he had 100 pieces of artwork I'd have bought them all. After asking if I could buy it, he handed it to me for free while signing it, telling me that I was his first customer, and that you should give the first work for free for good luck. I'd never heard that before, but it's a practice I'll be adopting from this point onwards.
One last note, but I also managed to talk to Des and Steven, two fellow NZ artists who draw anime. I've actually followed Des for awhile now, and back a few years ago remember applying to join his art circle. I didn't manage to get in, unfortunately, but had it not been for that, I'd have never gone on to form Medical Whiskey (as I made that group after being turned down, since I wanted to be in an art circle). Funny how those things happen. Anyway, as was the case with every other artist I met this weekend, they were really cool guys, and it was just nice to be able to discuss art with people who I felt walked a similar path.
Des had artwork of some original characters for a project he was working on, and they looked really nice. He only had one of each for sale, because they weren't expecting to sell anything. I bought the qt3.14 in the top center, since I really liked the design.
All in all, I definitely walked away from this weekends event with a renewed sense of purpose, a more positive mindset and most of all, a greater appreciation for the very foundation of art, and what it means to be an artist.