Art Show and Artist Alley
The deadline for Art Show and Artist Alley registration has been extended to May 15.
The Balticon Art Show showcases two- and three-dimensional art across the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. For Balticon 55, the Art Show goes virtual again, with paintings, prints, sculpture and unique jewelry on display across several online platforms. We will not have an auction this year, but art will be available for sale directly from the artists.
This year we are pleased to have Alyssa Winans as our Artist Guest of Honor. We will be featuring her art in both the web- based and Second Life- based galleries.
The Balticon Artist Alley is a place where artists and attendees can interact, purchase art, and commission custom art at “virtual tables” on several online platforms.
The Balticon Art Show will be displayed on the Balticon 55 web site, as well as the Balticon Station region of the Second Life platform. The Balticon Artist Alley will take place on Balticon’s Discord server, as well as on the Gather platform. Artist demos will take place on Discord, where we will have a channel dedicated to scheduled demos.
See the FAQ below for more information on platforms.
Art Show Reception
We will have two Art Show Receptions this year: One on Zoom and one on Second Life. All artists participating in the Art Show/Artist Ally are encouraged to attend on Zoom and/or on Second Life according to their preference. Schedule for the Receptions is TBA.
The Art Show web page and Second Life galleries will be open continuously throughout the convention. We will not have an Art Show auction this year. All works of art for sale will have links to the artist’s online listing for that item, so you can purchase a piece of art immediately and directly from the artist.
Visit our Artist Alley on Discord and Gather to interact with your favorite artists, see what they are currently working on, and perhaps commission custom art for yourself! Individual artists will post the hours they will be at their “tables.”
Meet our Artist Guest of Honor Alyssa Winans, as well as our other attending artists, at the Art Show Receptions on Zoom and Second Life! Time TBA
Due to the virtual nature of this year’s convention, we have decided to WAIVE any and all registration fees. All artists will have the option to participate in both the Art Show and Artist Alley, and on as many platforms as they desire. In lieu of a registration fee, we are asking artists to make a tax-free donation to BSFS. We can provide assistance for any artist interested in Second Life, Gather, and Discord; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange it. In order to facilitate easier art purchasing, all art pieces exhibited for sale, either on the Balticon 55 web site or the Second Life gallery, will include a hyperlink to the item’s listing in its online store.
Although we cannot operate an online storefront ourselves, we will help out any artists to find ways to make the purchasing of art as easy as possible.
Artists wishing to exhibit in the web and/or Second Life galleries will be asked to provide up to 10 images for their exhibit, as well as a thumbnail image for the main Art Show page, a short biography, and any social media/email contact information they wish to include on their exhibit page. Pieces for sale should include a direct URL to their online listing (or if they do not have one, we will configure them).
Artists wishing to participate in our Artist Alley on Discord and Gather will be asked to commit to a minimum of four hours (at their discretion) each day to be at their virtual tables.
Any artist who wishes to support Balticon, but does not want to participate in the virtual Art Show, may donate to our GoFundMe. All donations are gratefully received.
Submitting art for the Art Show:
Art Show Rules are available for download as a PDF file. Please refer to them when you choose photos of your art to be displayed in the Art Show.
VIRTUAL ART SHOW:
We will set up virtual galleries on the Balticon 55 web site, the Balticon Art Show gallery in the Second Life platform, and in the Art Show space in the Gather platform. The goal of setting up so many galleries is to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Aside from links to online store listings, etc., once the artist has provided the bio, contact information, and images, Art Show staff will do the rest.
Web Site Gallery
The web site platform will consist of a main page with thumbnail images of all participating artists, and a “gallery” page for each artist. We recommend using a logo or image of artwork for this thumbnail image to better draw attention.
Clicking on a thumbnail image will take the viewer to that artist’s page *on the Balticon web site*. On that page will be a short bio (with photo of the artist if desired), contact information, and up to ten images of pieces of art.
If the artist has an online store, such as Etsy, they can provide the URL to the listing for each piece of art, and we will add it to the images. That way, a viewer can click on the image of the art, and be taken directly to the artist’s online store to purchase the art.
If the artist does not have an online store, we can use other types of links to connect the buyer with the artist. The goal here is to make it as easy as we can for a viewer to purchase art.
Unfortunately, we are not set up to take online orders and then coordinate shipping with the artist, so we are doing what we can to help artists make sales.
Second Life Gallery
Second Life is a detailed three dimensional environment that users explore using an avatar. This means that the Art Show Gallery in Balticon’s Second Life region *looks* like a building with art hanging on the walls. Check last year’s Second Life page to get more information, and to see a short video featuring the Art Show.
We can use the same images for the Second Life Gallery as for the Web Site Gallery, we will just upload them into Second Life and “hang” them on the walls. For artists who create sculpture or jewelry, we will create shadowboxes for those photos, to give the illusion that the 3d piece is sitting in the box. That’s our way of saying, we are not limiting art to 2D forms only! There is an additional detail to consider for Second Life: it is possible to sell the “image” of the art inside the game. If you are interested in exhibiting in the Second Life Gallery and want more detailed information, please contact Nora directly at email@example.com.
Gather is like Second Life in that a user has an avatar to navigate the space. But unlike the 3D look of Second Life, Gather is more like being in a Mario game – the environment is all flat/two dimensional, and your avatar looks like an old school video game character.
Again, we will use the same photos from the web site gallery in the Gather space, with the same links for making sales as before.
VIRTUAL ARTIST ALLEY:
During an in-person convention, the Artist Alley is where an artist sits at their table, engages with attendees, and can make and sell art directly. Last year we used Discord as our Artist Alley platform, with some success. This year we will add the Gather platform as well. For each platform, the artist will be *available* to engage with attendees, for a few hours daily throughout the duration of the convention. We would like each artist to be available for two hours on Friday and Monday, and four hours on Saturday and Sunday. There is no set time for artist hours, and artists are welcome to be at their tables for more than the minimum if they wish.
Discord Artist Alley
The Discord platform offers text chat, voice chat, video chat, and screen-sharing. It functions as a listing of channels (similar to chat rooms) where users can chat together.
The artist’s “table” is an individual text chat channel that the artist can enter their bio/contact information in, *and* upload photos of their art for attendees to see. Discord sends notifications to the user when someone has posted in their channel, so it is not mandatory that the artist sit by the computer (or phone of they have the mobile Discord app) every minute of their *table-sitting time*.
There will also be a video channel dedicated to art demos, which can be used for general artist/attendee chat in between scheduled demos.
The screen-sharing feature is part of the video channel, not the text channel. It allows for a user to show what is on their computer screen with everyone on the channel. For digital artists, this is a way to do demos of techniques.
Gather Artist Alley
The Gather platform is visual; users navigate the space with tiny avatars, and when they get close enough to another user, a video chat window automatically opens up between them. The Artist Alley will consist of digital tables next to which artists can place their avatars. As attendees explore the virtual artist alley, they can talk to artists at their tables, both in video and text chat. We will not be using the Gather platform for demos. If an artist wishes to do a demo, they should request a Discord channel instead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is Discord?
Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app that’s used by tens of millions of people aged 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends.
- How much does Discord cost?
Discord is completely free to use.
- Can I use Discord on my phone?
Absolutely! Apps are available on Google Play and the Apple Store. If you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer, there is a desktop app, or you can use it from the web.
- How do I get started using Discord?
Go to https://discord.com/ to create an account and download the application, if desired. An invitation to the Balticon Discord server will be posted when it is available.
- Okay, so what is Gather?
Gather is a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations just as easily as they would in real life. In other words, you have a character on screen that can get close enough to another character to open up a video chat between you and another person.
- Do I have to pay to use Gather?
Nope. Creating a Gather account is completely free.
- What devices can I use with Gather?
Currently there are very few reliable apps available to run Gather on mobile devices. It works best on a desktop or laptop computer, equipped with a microphone and webcam in order to participate in video chat. Audio and video are not required to use Gather, but they definitely help provide the full experience
- What is Second Life anyway?
Second Life is a free 3D virtual world where avatars can create, connect, and chat with others from around the world using voice and text. In this virtual world, all content is created by the users.
- How much does it cost to play Second Life?
You can create an account and play Second Life completely for free. While there are lots of items for sale paid for by game currency (Linden dollars), there are also tons of freebies to be found, so it is possible to play Second Life without spending any real life money.
- What devices can I play Second Life on?
You can play Second Life on a Mac or PC. To the best of our knowledge, there are no reliable apps or players available for most mobile devices. The demands that full 3D rendering impose on both the computer hardware and network bandwidth make playing it on anything less than a computer with a dedicated graphics card extremely difficult. For more in-depth information about system requirements: https://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/
- What is Balticon doing on Second Life?
Balticon Station is a region in Second Life with a futuristic setting and lots of different places to explore. It is open to visitors 24 hours a day. Race giant slugs, wander through the Elven lands, teleport into our Orbital Transfer Station, take a parachute ride, or just hang out at the Space Bar and dance with your friends.
- Let me at it! How do I get started with Second Life?
Go to https://secondlife.com/ to create an account and download the program. The link to Balticon Station will be posted when it is available.