Doing the Kansas City Japan Festival turned out to be phenomenal for me, but I was beginning to drag quite a bit after all these shows.
I was now falling behind on a LOT of things, just trying to keep up. But there wasn't time to dwell on all that. I had to get ready to put forth my best foot at this new show.
|The main entrance archway.
I knew the show existed, but I didn’t know that artists were involved with the show. A few weeks back I received an email from someone at NakaKon letting me know about it, and asking if I’d like to be a part of it. The booth fee was $150, and I still had a large backlog of items that I could sell at a show.
I think this was my fifth week in a row doing a show. But I was pretty excited to see how this was going to play out.
The show is one day, so I showed up the day prior for set up. In my haste to get to the show, I had forgotten any way to transport my displays into the venue, but thankfully the staff was able to find me a cart for all my items. Which is really good considering that the room I was set up to be in was on the third floor. I was instructed to come in through the back entrance and take the elevator up to the third-floor for set up.
|Ever so thankful the staff found me a cart. The room I was in was up on the third floor!
The way the rooms set up worked, was that whatever tables were in there you could lay claim to. I set up my walls and my banner, and then moved three tables situated around me. This was easily the most display space I’ve had at any show. It worked out to essentially be $50 a table, that’s one heck of a deal. Throw in great lighting, carpeted floor, and a great green background that matches my overall aesthetic, and I was a very happy dude, indeed.
Product wise I brought everything I had to previous shows and then some. I’m glad that I over planned for the show. As you can see in the photo below, there’s also a small reading kiosk that showcased concept art for board games that helped me possibly get some future commission work. I can’t explain it, but maybe having run the gauntlet of all of the rest of the shows made me determined to throw myself into this show with renewed energy and as much positive thinking as I could muster.
While I was setting up, I wondered what Otaku Gardens was. Turns out they were really cool group of dudes that sold some really kick ass stickers. It was a win-win as anyone that came into the room got to see a plethora of artwork across five or six tables.
From what I understand there were things going on on all three floors. I know there was food, martial art demonstrations, history display booths, and other hobbies and interests involving Japan’s culture.
|Once again set up for world domination and ego stroking.
During the early morning and right around 2 o’clock. I had time to work on some sketches and post to social media.
Mind you I was still pretty tired, but as long as people were talking to me, I was fine. The moment it started to have a lull, I was in trouble. An urge to take a nap was strong.
Thankfully, I had a few friends stop by who watched my booth, and I was able to make a few quick rounds while also hitting the restroom. I needed content for TikTok, and for this blog post, so I took more vids and pics while out in the hall.
For the first time this year, I actually started to run out of things that I was selling. That was a jolt of excitement that is hard for me to put into words, even as I type this, without getting a little emotional.
If you’ve read the previous blogs, you understand just how much money I’ve thrown at this year's efforts, and how little the return on the investment has been in many circumstances. Thankfully, the upswing started in the show previous to this one.
|Showing off concept work for boardgames.
The accurate numbers are below in the expense and earnings area but I knew I had done pretty good considering I ran out of comics to sell, received an email commission, and sold out of a bunch of my larger, art reproductions. It felt damn good.
The crowd in attendance was amazing, and this show above any of the rest, had the most amount of people that followed me on TikTok come and meet me and purchase things. Real talk, I never thought that was gonna happen. For years, I’ve struggled to gain ground on everything from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, and it’s been a clawing and dragging experience the whole way. It looks like I’m well on my way to hitting 2000 followers by the end of this year. Having kept count, 78 of them have come to my shows, and 32 of them purchased things I made. That goes a long way toward rebuilding my wounded pride, and damaged ego from so many shows prior.
Finally, in the last hour sales begin to dwindle, as the attendees began to thin out. It was weird, because being isolated in one of the classrooms, I was unable to get a gauge for the overall attendance like I can doing any other sort of show.
|There were events all over the building.
I seriously had a blast doing the show, and not just because I made money, but because of the incredibly awesome people that came out to the show. A lot of them were there to shop, define new, art, and books, and so much other stuff. if you’re from Kansas City, you may understand when I say, it’s a vast majority of the population says they support art, but rarely do.
That’s not a dig, that’s just what I’ve experienced. Not just for my art work, but in many other circumstances, with other artists, I've known. that said this was an event that did work out well.
|I only got a quick glimpse of the bonsai tree area.
|[Left] Sketching at the show. [Right] I think it's a cosplay from Dragonball, either way, it's cool!
|The gaming room was full!
|The first hour was pretty light, but the rest of the day was waves of people.
Any show that I can talk to people is a joy, and so many of the people that came out provided me with great conversations.
|I started running out of some of the art reproduction editions.
As the show close down, my roommates Otaku Gardens quickly gathered all their items packed up, said goodbyes, and were out. My teardown was slower, I was sincerely so tired by this point it wasn’t funny. I took the time to carefully re-pack everything and did a quick inventory so that I know what else I still needed to make more of for future shows..
|After show donut from the staff who waited on my slow self to pack up. I'm seeing a pattern of happiness with donuts...
And a funny coincidence, when I came back in to get the last of my items, one of the staff members asked me if I wanted a doughnut. If you read the C2E2 blog entry, you’ll recall that on Sunday I was given a doughnut. Donuts for me or a rare and exciting thing, because I try not to eat too many of them. But every time I see a donut, I am reminded of Mitch Hedberg. And I think he’d be the first person to tell me. “Hey man I see you got a donut. Any show is automatically better with a doughnut. It’s like the circle of life except it’s a doughnut. It also means you came back full circle. So stop listening to me and eat the donut man.”
Let me take a moment to think Mitch Hedberg for his comedy, and allowing me to look at life and laugh at both the good and the bad.
|Loading out late that evening.
Greater Kansas City Japan Festival 2022 was held October 8th, 2022, from 10am to 7pm.
Location: JCCC - 12345 College Blvd - Overland Park, Kansas
ADULTS: $15 STUDENTS (WITH ID): $10 CHILDREN AGES 6–13: $5 CHILDREN 5 AND UNDER: FREE!
Is it worth it?
As a vendor? I would have to say hell yeah it was! I can’t speak for any other vendors, but I know that our room specifically was doing well.
As an attendee? I think so the friends that stop by told me that the show was a lot of fun for them, but there was a lot of people. If I don’t get a chance to vent next year, I am certainly attending it. It’s not an expensive event. You can see the price points down below..
- Show Entry Fee: $150.00
- Fuel/food: $24.00
- Purchases from vendors and other artists: $0.00
- Parking: Free
Total Expenses: $174.00
- 36 - Comics: $90.00
- 1 - Commission: $500.00
- 16 - 13"x19" Art Reproductions: $400.00
- 7 - 8"x8" Art Reproductions: $70.00
- 1 - Mug: 15.00
- 3 - Button Packs: $15.00
Total Earnings: $1,090.00
- There's a lot to see and do for attendees.
- Show floor layout was large and spread out.
- Attendance seemed to be really great.
- The crowd in attendance was there to buy and spend.
- Nothing I can think of.
The Final Evaluation
This paragraph is probably just gonna be a heap of praise, but I mean every bit of it. I was hesitant to try the show because of what happened prior at the others. But I’m glad I did. It’s a well-run and well organized show. The people that came to the show were interested in what I had to offer for sale. even without the people that came there to visit that I either knew first, or from TikTok, the crowd in general was in a great mood, and very personable.
If given the opportunity to be in the show again in 2023, I will absolutely take part.
Greater Kansas City Japan Festival 2022 Show Haul
The show was insanely busy, and thankfully I had friends that stopped by to give me a break, but I didn't get any real chance to buy anything.
Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.
Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist