Posted onJuly 22, 2016|Comments Off on The Aftermath: All-Con 2016 – 1
When mentioning the hectic situations of the past few months, nothing is more prominent than the lack of updates over here on the site. Sadly, when given an option between caring for plants or posting new pictures, the plants always win. Now that the full summer heat has kicked in and there’s not much else to do but wait for the first Halloween displays at the local Michaels stores (the first hint in Dallas that the heat will eventually break), it’s time to get back to it.
2016 marked the fifth Triffid Ranch show at All-Con, and we had a lot of promise with a new larger hotel. Well, the con staff did what they could, and they went to heroic efforts to do so, but they could only do so much with a hotel that would have been considered shoddily run in the 1980s. Vendors paid for electricity, only to find out that the hotel didn’t bother to set up power cables for lights and other essentials. The hotel abutted a large business tower complex, and informed the convention that attendees would have access to both the hotel parking and the complex’s extensive parking garages. This was a surprise to most of the attendees who arrived on Friday and Saturday after about 6 in the morning, as the parking garages were chained up to prevent that promised access. After a temporary parking lot, literally in the middle of a vacant lot, filled up, a lot of regulars simply gave up after circling for an hour in the hopes of finding anything, and a promised hotel shuttle from the nearest DART train station also turned back into pumpkins and mice. Those of us who could get in (and no thanks to the idiot in charge of the hotel parking garage, who repeatedly waved in vehicles too tall to fit in said garage and then insisted upon tips when they finally got free and escaped) made the best of it, and swore things would be different in 2017.
Okay, so the best adjective to describe the last few months is “hectic”. The news this month about the mall coming down led to the start of a search for a new location. The bad news is that thanks to the current hipster explosion in the Oak Cliff area, gallery space is available, if $18 per square foot and up is “affordable”. The good news is that thanks to the expansion of available technology, the huge office parks built throughout the Dallas area at the beginning of the century, in anticipation of a huge sustained dotcom boom dead for fifteen years, are increasingly affordable and open to new uses. We don’t know what the rest of the year is going to bring us, but the plan right now is to stay at Midtown for as long as we can: it’s a central locale, we have great neighbors, and people now come by solely to see what’s in the window this week. (And before you ask, photos will follow soon enough.)
The only problem with the mall involves people being able to find the space. As with most malls, corridor junctions have those huge “You are here” directories: unfortunately, since the mall’s coming down soon enough, the owners can’t justify spending money to update those directory maps as galleries and businesses move in and out. Since those directories list the previous gallery in our location, customers and visitors come in, check out the gallery, don’t see our name, and get confused. The obvious solution was to add signage that gave directions and intrigued passersby. But considering how easily we as a society blank out on incessant advertising, is it possible to make signage that might draw people in merely by its presence, even if it’s for a few rounds of “What the hell is that?”
The medium made itself accessible soon enough: an Internet radio station getting situated further down the mall pulled these huge Styrofoam blanks from alcoves in their walls and set them aside. This being an art gallery community, most disappeared as soon as they were offered, propped up on one end, and used as temporary print and photo displays. Thankfully, one remained, and after a few weeks of shaping with heat guns, painting, and augmentation, the new Triffid Ranch sign went up on the main mall floor, within view of the escalator leading to the movie theater. It’s not to the level of a Jay Sherman book promotion cutout, but what is?
So there you have it. Combined with dispensers for promotional postcards, it not only brings in interested bystanders, but it fits in with the general theme and intention. Now let’s see if I can find another foam core in order to put another sign directly in front of the space.