My first convention booth ever. 2 years ago today, I was at DesignerCon 2019. It was such a fun experience (I had my wife and our little then-4-year-old there - see that red hair peeking out ). I had signed up for the convention many months before without any clue of what I'd be selling. I did it as a motivation and a challenge to make myself make something. I had a booth and a deadline, and all I had to do was to figure out what to fill it with.
Long story short, I came up with the Kingdoms of Elembi idea (which I still love!) for the convention. While the experience was a blast, it really represented a low point for me which I've described a few times on a couple podcasts. To say that my booth was very unattended would be quite an understatement. I went home with nearly everything I arrived with. This was the latest in a string of projects that never really resonated - lots of passion with no traction.
Within a few weeks of this picture, my father passed, and in less than 4 months, COVID turned the world outside in. It was a very dark days for me and for many. Around this time, while sitting indoors for weeks on end, I found an old file of a Will Clark that I had started working on months before. I had had completely forgotten about it, but I thought I'd finish it up since I liked where it was going. On a whim, I put it "out there" for my small handful of Instagram followers. I thought I'd put a clock on it and see what happens. I very much expected to do maybe 5 or 6, sell maybe 10 or 20, and move on to the next thing.
As I like to say, there was a zig when I expected a zag. To be doing release #62 right now is bonkers. To have had the opportunity to work with some of the players I grew up watching is surreal. To have this work resonate with people the way that it has - it's an honor. The messages I heard from folks about this project being a bright spark in the darkness of a pandemic - absolute treasures to me. That in and of itself was a bright spark to me and brightened my own darkness. The novelty of this never ever gets old for me and my wife, and I feel - we feel - so fortunate, so grateful, and so blessed to be in the moment we're in. Never ever a given.
And looping back to this picture and this project - it is near and dear to me. While it represents the door frame of a dark season, it also got me back into art in a meaningful way. It brought my art back to a space where it resonated with my own self and combined some of the early loves of my life. It got me thinking differently about art, about the things I grew up with, and exploring their joys. I think about this project so very often.
(Even the timing of when it began represents so much to me. Within a week of turning 40, I started that project - looking at the time left vs. the time I've already spent. When it's my time to go, I want to make sure that I go empty. This in and of itself is another big long post, but that's another day)
So....2 years ago today. There's still more to come from the Kingdoms of Emelbi - not quite finished with it yet! More to come. And those 87 Topps on the table? Those were the packs of cards that went into the first orders of Pop Flys and started the practice of including cards in every order.
Thank you all for being part of a very personal journey. It's absolutely appreciated. And thank you, Kingdoms of Emelbi, for being the setup for such a great plot twist. The best is yet to be!