Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Afterthoughts on Novacon 43

A belated blog following this year’s Novacon...

The Park Inn hotel in Nottingham has been the home to this long-established convention for a number of years now. Despite being only my second Novacon, I’ve settled in and started to feel like one of the Novacon family. As the UK’s longest running SF convention, there are a lot of familiar faces. A "same time next year" sort of affair, but in a good way – who can complain at an annual get-together of likeminded folk? And despite attendance numbers being down on last year (possibly due to World Fantasy Con just a week or so earlier), we had some new, young – yes, young – faces in the crowd.

Speaking of demographic, it’s safe to say that most attendees fall into a certain age range. And I’m not really one of them. At some point in my brief absence from the art room, I was described as “the dark-haired person without a beard!”. But what I love at Novacon is the fact you can strike up a fascinating conversation with absolutely anyone. We all have one thing in common, and that is a genuine love for SF, particularly when it comes to literature. Whether you want to chat with authors, or browse the rare, new, classic and vintage titles in the dealer’s room, it’s all there.

Having tested the water last year and exhibiting a small number of artworks, this year, I quite a lot – 19 pieces in total. And the fact that I returned home with just four, clearly indicates I’m doing something right. The art auction on the last day came as a huge confidence boost to me, as I didn’t expect to sell quite as much. This does mean that for next year I need to do some new work! But it was very rewarding on a personal level, and even if I hadn’t sold anything, just being able to talk about my work with the visitors to the art room was great. All these pieces of work that I’d done over the last few years, finally printed, mounted and up there on the walls for all to see and assess. 

As the artwork at Novacon operates on a bidding system for the auction, it’s really interesting to see which pieces of your work get bids – and now many. It is sometimes fascinating to see that the pieces you think might be your most appealing don’t get any bids and a piece you were perhaps less confident in, does! There are many lessons to be learnt in exhibiting your work at an event like this. Novacon generally attracts between 200–300 people, so it’s a good size audience. Although more people are likely to see your work at a bigger event, there’s a high chance they’ll spend less time looking at it or return for a second visit.

I really enjoyed talking to everybody who came to my stand, and I’m truly grateful to everybody who placed bids on my work, and those who walked away with a piece or two.

Over the course of the next year, I plan to work on new artwork, for display LonCon3 (all being well) and of course, Novacon 44. See you there!


  1. Glad you enjoyed it and found it worthwhile. Post-auction I now have "Awakening" on my wall - perversely I find it nostalgic rather than dystopian as it puts me in mind of my old London flat!
    Thank you

    1. Thank you for buying the piece, Chris, very much appreciated. It's a personal favourite. It is actually supposed to depict a futuristic London, as it was inspired by the HG Wells novel, The Sleeper Awakes (see: http://www.thelightdream.net/site_gfx/pages/awakening_jpg.htm)

      The art auction gave me a big confidence boost, and it was only my second Novacon. Now I just need to get working on some new pieces for next year!