by L. Nichols
There isn’t a show I look forward to more as an attendee than the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest (BCGF). I think this is because it’s the show I feel least out of place. Or maybe it’s the show/scene that I feel like my work makes the most sense in context of. Something like that. Something in between those feelings. This year’s show was so full of amazing things that I was completely overwhelmed. It’s amazing to see such a density of things I am excited about in such a small place!
The time I did get a chance to walk around as a break from the nine hour tabling marathon, I only had the time to make it around the top floor. I could’ve spent hours just looking at one section! The density of this show was tremendous, especially with the addition of a second floor. Some part of me wishes the convention was two days just so I could have more time to explore. But there’s also a certain magical quality to the show only being a day. BCGF came together and dispersed in a (somewhat tiring as an exhibitor) blink leaving with new memories and a desire for it to happen again. Maybe two days would be too much of a good thing. As it was, I left completely exhausted and somewhat delirious from that exhaustion, but simultaneously so excited about where things were going that I couldn’t wait to keep working.
I debuted two new comics there. Both of them were somewhat experimental full-color books. Me exploring the area between art books and comics, I guess. I can’t imagine a better show to have debuted these at, and they seemed well received by the people who picked them up.
One thing I can say about BCGF is that the people really seem to be interested in going and buying things. LOTS of things. I’ve exhibited at BCGF two different times and each of those times were the best sales of any convention. I think this is due to a combination of the location (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) being ideal for this type of product, the free admission, and great effort on the organizers to get press coverage and signage. I really can’t find much fault with this show. This is pretty much my ideal show as an attendee, regardless of which side of the table I’m on.
I can’t stress enough the benefit of free admission to draw in an audience who might not otherwise attend! I wish more shows would do this. Free admission makes it more likely that someone vaguely curious or on the fence would attend. I’ve exhibited at many shows, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the crowd is usually somewhat the same. People who know my work come and buy it. After several years, not so many new faces. In contrast, BCGF was full of new faces! This is what I want to see!!
I met so many new people this year who picked up my work (often for the first time!) or who had me draw portraits of them. I love drawing portraits of people at shows because it gives me an excuse to talk to them in a way that’s a little less intimidating for me (I am not good with meeting new people) and maybe (hopefully) fun and memorable for them. I feel like at the core of what I’m about is making connections with people. Often I feel like my art communicates more effectively than I do.
Maybe that is what I like most about BCGF, the people aspect. The show is overflowing with artists I care about. The aisles were filled with an audience that seemed genuinely interested in finding new things, in building relationships with artists. Brooklyn is my borough. I love it here. Being able to attend BCGF seems like the best way to end the year, like spending the holidays at home with the people you love.