Sometime around 2000, I was working at a paintball marker manufacturer called ActionMarkers, based in Fort Wayne, IN. At one point we were developing several lines of markers including a pump called The Illusion and we were trying to get publicity any way we could. William Shatner had just started his paintball charity event and my boss somehow get our pump marker included in the prize chest. We needed to donate 12, I think, which was no big deal. Steve Jr decides to try to one-up everyone and commissioned me to develop concept art for a Sci-Fi looking pump marker. I redeveloped the Illusion in gold and silver with black accents.
My boss made it. It was chromed and 24kt Gold Plated. It is a thing of real beauty. We got permission to use Shatner's signature on the side, and made certificates of authenticity that were autographed by Bill himself. We donated an extra one to give to him, personally. The whole time, I was one of the primary trade-show staff, so I was sure I was going.
I was going to meet Bill.
My boss, Steve Jr, told me his boss, Steve Sr, wanted to go and I had to stay to keep the store open.
The store that made less than $500 on a good week. I worked my butt off creating art for this thing, including the marker and new Jerseys for the factory team. My boss did... something. I think. Nothing related to the working of ActionMarkers I know, because he pawned all those tasks off on me! I was the cold-caller, I was an assembler (I proved I can assemble one correctly while blindfolded) the team coach, the store manager (and only employee) web master, graphic artist, copywriter and social media correspondent. I was ActionMarkers, and I was not going to meet Bill.
I was angry for a long time. I got over it. Mostly because I was more angry when I was fired after fighting for 6 months to keep my job while Jr's girlfriend was producing new artwork for free. Since my job description was Graphic Artist, ActionMarkers had exactly one graphic artist too many with her working for free. He married her a year later, so I felt like I was fired so his girlfriend could have my job. I took it personal, and I shouldn't have.
(Common People just started on my playlist. He heard me talking.)
About 5 years ago, Steve Jr and my mother collaborated to get me something I never expected. For my birthday, I got a Gold Illusion. One of the William Shatner edition markers I designed! IT had everything but the certificate of authenticity.
So that whole long story was just to say this: I can take my marker to Space City Con and get Bill to sign my marker! Well, a card I can display with it, at any rate. The idea excited me because I thought I had missed my chance at a con in Dallas I could not attend. Turns out, I was confusing it with SCC, which is in a month.
I told my Dad and he said I really should go and do it. I totally agree. Then I mentioned something I knew would get shot down. I said, "I should try selling my art at a con sometime."
"You should!" he said. "Why don't you?"
You know, every con I've attended I've seen artists who are mediocre at best selling art from their booth. $10 for an 8.4x11 portrait of whatever character they felt like drawing and a booth that costs $200. It almost doesn't make sense not to do it!
At the last con I saw a girl doing some of the worst fan art I've seen in a long time. At her booth. I started to think, "How can she display that work? How dare she charge for it?" then I thought, "Let's see your booth, then. Oh, I don't have one. She has a booth and I don't so today she is a far better artist than I am."
Just the thought makes me queasy, which probably means I really should do it.