Whoa, what a great end to a fun experience. Though I have to say I still don’t feel like I’m necessarily part of a community of illustrators. Mainly because I’ve held myself back over the years. After ICON I don’t see there is a need to explore my work and not hold back anymore.

I digress, because the second day of the conference included an amazing presentation by Gary Panter, whose work I’ve just begun to discover. His work is so strong because of his bold choices and using a narrative approach in his work. Just how one painting can tell a whole story is incredible. Not to mention his work on Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

I went to a great presentation of the fine art and illustration of Tara McPherson. Seeing her work again just kept inspiring me to see that it’s okay to follow your personal vision without worrying how it might sell. This is my breakthrough for the conference, to keep following those thoughts and ideas as they come. Don’t lead the ideas just be present and follow.

Also I got to meet Von Glitschka whose work is so amazing and closer to my own style of graphic illustration. I love his icon work and the overall fun wackiness he brings to his work.

Finally the closing speaker, SVA instructor Kevin O’Callahan, made a dramatic entrance, and inspired us in the way he challenges his students to make the impossible possible. A highlight was Kevin talking about how his students recycled Yugos (the famous cheap crappy car from the 1980’s) and turned them into everything from a shower, to a port-a-potty, to a Zippo lighter.

We danced the night away at the final party. I met some great artists including Echo Chernik who’s art nouveau style of illustration is breathtaking, leaves you wondering how the hell she makes vector art look like a painting. I chatted for a while with Echo’s husband Lazarus who can really boogie down on the dance floor.

Maybe nobody knows who I am yet, but I left ICON5 feeling a little closer a community of image makers and creative thinkers that I am excited and privileged to consider myself a part of.