This past weekend was the 16th annual Otakon at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland. This was my second time creating chalk art for the show and would prove to be another killer piece that would challenge my patience and my ability to keep my fingers from being worn down to the bone. My first appearance at Otakon was in 2008, where I created a 15th Anniversary Otakon Chalk Art Mural, and I was determined to make this one even better.
Once again the artwork was provided by Udon Entertainment, and it was a beautiful piece of work featuring the Otakon mascots Hiroko-chan and Hiroshi-kun in a light-hearted beach setting. I am ashamed to admit it, but if the giant pink character and robot in the art are game or manga characters then I am not familiar with them. I don’t feel too bad though, no one else I asked recognized them either so I am assuming they are generic characters to spice up the piece. If you have any information on these two I would love to know so feel free to comment at the bottom of the page.
I traveled down to the show accompanied by my ever-present assistant Kelly, along with two new faces this time around as Travis and my nephew Kyle rounded out the team. After the four hour drive we arrived late Thursday with only enough time to find our hotel and get some sleep, but we began bright and early Friday setting up the space by laying out my gallery of previous pieces and assembling the art (since it comes in three rolls of paper that I have to merge to look like one giant piece.) This time around the Otakon had set up a camera mounted on the ceiling a good 40 feet above me, and a live feed running to two plasma TVs so that people could actually see the art in a straight on, non-distorted view which I thought was absolutely fantastic!
I began the coloring just after noon on Friday and would spend 21 and a half hours over the next 3 days rending the color and shading across the mural. Fan response was great, and it was so much fun meeting everyone and getting to talk about, or should I say geek out about, everything and anything that is cool and amazing in terms of anime, video games, and even american comics. But even more importantly, lo-and-behold, this is my first mural in a LONG time that wasn’t walked on or damaged in some way by a convention goer. Excuse me while I do a little dance of victory.
Everyone in Artist Alley was amazing, and thanks to Matt, Terry and Sean for some big time help over the course of the show. After the room closed, we were able to… ahem… borrow a portable archway and actually hang the piece from it allowing me to get the final photos as I stood next to the mural for scale reference. I barely got to walk around the show even with it’s extended hours up until Midnight, and the few photos I have below of various cosplay outfits doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it was like to be among the insane throng of costumed characters. If you are really interested in seeing more of the costumes, simply go to Flickr.com and search for Otakon Cosplay… and prepare to be amazed at the more than 20,000 returns you will get!
Enjoy the photos below, and let me know what you think of the final chalk art mural.