Artists Alley is an entire room at G-FEST dedicated to selling original works created by some incredible talents. My son, Luke, and I both commented how much its evolved over the years, going from a handful of artists to filling out an old restaurant at the Crowne Plaza. Since my other son, Alex, was in the military I wanted to pick up a print for his apartment. I had no idea how tough it would be settling on just one! I picked up a Shin Godzilla drawing done by Eric Schuster who was happy to also sign it for him.
Not long ago, this section of G-FEST was headed by Frank Parr who used to run Artist Alley. Parr is the founder and lead illustrator of Dragonfyre Studios and, around the time it began, I’d photographed the Crowne Plaza for him to use as reference material for his comics. In exchange, he made me some artwork of my kids in the costumes they wore at G-FEST that year (2005). Although my costuming skills were pretty horrendous, I’m proud to say the kids made it into the Chicago Tribune that year.
While we were by his booth, Luke picked up a copy of one of his books highlighting his original Kaijus.
As we were getting ready to leave, I was a bit alarmed seeing a “Get Well” Card for Harou Nakajima out for signing…especially since I’d just seen him at Days of the Dead! I hope he’ll recover quickly!
The Dealer’s Room was as tantalizing as always, though it was kind of a bummer not seeing the Scary Monsters Magazine booth with its former publisher, Dennis Druktenis.
The coolest thing was a model of the ants from THEM. Not only did it look incredible but the creator took an old promo card and turned it into a remote that, when pressed, played their iconic sounds. Where’s $450 of disposable cash when you need it!?!
This marked the first year Luke was more interested in attending the panels with me rather than hanging out all weekend in the video game room. G-FEST XXIV’s Guest of Honor was Shinji Higuchi, the visual spfx director of Shin Godzilla (2016). He would give a fascinating behind the scenes look at the evolution of that monster’s design as well as an inside look at TOHO’s reaction when the Legendary Godzilla became an unexpected hit.
Coming Up…An Interview with Shinju Higuchi