Orlando is known for many things: tourists, bad drivers, strip malls, theme parks, and conventions. Luckily for us, Orlando is a relatively convention heavy city. If you like science fiction, comic books, movies, and gaming, it’s actually not a bad place to hang your hat. Each year at the Orlando Science Center we’re lucky enough to have Otronicon, a convention that focuses on gaming and new technology. I’m happy to say that 2011’s Otronicon is the best yet.
This past weekend, the Nerd Appropriate crew descended upon MegaCon for a day of… um, well I’m not exactly sure what, but we were there! MegaCon bills itself as “the southeast’s largest comic book, science fiction/fantasy, anime, gaming, toys multi-media event!” William Shatner was there, and so was convention staple, Stan Lee. Oh, and Cosplay… lots and lots of Cosplay… and Free Hugs?
But this isn’t an article about Cosplay, body odor, or celebrity. Not being a huge comic or anime guy within the NA Team I like to hit up the show floor for a bit of shopping. The convention floor is a mixed bag to say the least. In some ways its like a flea market for nerds, or a traveling circus. You can easily spot the guys who tote their framed autographs and weather-worn carded figures from show to show. I often wonder if much of that stuff comes from their own home, it is borderline Hoarders. I mean, if you just pile up your crap underneath one of your tables, then tell me something down there is anymore than $10, I think you may have a problem.
If you don’t believe me I’ll make a simple point, one that Matt pointed out to me on the show floor. At the end of Celebration IV their show store marked down a lot of the merch, including some Lando mustaches and CIV programs. Well, some booth owners apparently bought the stuff in bulk and were trying to turn a profit at MegaCon. You get the idea. I like looking for deals on vintage MOC Admiral Ackbar figures as much as the next guy (ok, probably much more than the next 50 guys) but sometimes that practice gets in the way of the things you (read: I) should actually be paying attention to. That brings us to Jason Thomas’ Red Rocket Farm.
Jason, please accept my apologies, as I will most likely not do the depth and breath of your talents and interests justice. Jason is an artist, illustrator, web-comic designer, and probably many more things. What caught the eye of NA at MegaCon, however, was his collection of robot and monster art on wood canvases. Each of Jason’s characters has a name, and each character seems to express a personality with simple expressions and abstract backgrounds. We bought a couple of pieces and Jason was even cool enough to pen a story on the back of each piece and sign them for us as well. He was also doing free sketches for just hanging out at the booth.
Now, I’m not quite the con veteran that some of the other NA crew are, but what I’ve already noticed that it is often the significant other of the artist with whom you often interface, while the artist sketches without so much as a head nod in your direction. While I get the whole esoteric / tortured artist thing, you’re not doing much to reach out to people not already familiar with your work. Jason was nothing like that, and I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and personalize your work.
Let’s face it, who doesn’t like robots? Check out Jason’s work at Red Rocket Farm. You might even spot a robot dinosaur if you look hard enough. The shop also sells prints, shirts, buttons, and some pretty clever key-chain domino art. Personally, stopping by the Red Rocket Farm was a highlight of my MegaCon 2011 experience, keep an eye out for Jason and his crew at future cons.