Salt Lake City’s 12th semi-annual FanX convention attracted artists and guests from around the world, featuring a wide range of festivities from plushies to tattoos.
The Ink Alliance, an international team of tattoo artists, offered permanent body art to guests; the artists provided pre-made designs and worked alongside guests to create their own unique pieces. The artists remained booked throughout the three-day convention, tattooing anyone willing to sit in their chairs.
Sacramento resident Jen Monson — who was selling her photo-realistic koi fish paintings set in resin — came for family.
Monson reunited with her sister, who she hasn’t seen in 23 years, and met her niece. The convention was also an opportunity for Monson to show her son where she grew up.
“My son has never been further than just over the border of California,” Monson said, adding that showing her son where she was raised created more of a draw, offsetting the travel cost.
While family connection was the integral element in Monson’s FanX experience, artist Christopher Levin returned to the convention for a second time because of his fans.
“What brought me back to Salt Lake for a second run is that this is a convention very well-known for the fans,” Levin said. “People come to this show to make connections with artists and vendors, and that’s what I love about it.”
The multi-pop culture event is a time when most fans and artists bond, but the business-side of the convention can leave some artists worried.
Miriam Barse, an artist who sold female empowerment stickers, pins and jewelry, said it is difficult to sell her merchandise in a competitive market.
“It’s kind of a risk-reward thing for me because I don’t do a lot of fan art,” Barse said. “If you don’t do fan art, you might not get noticed. At the same time, if you do a ton of fan art, you’re competing with everybody else.”
However, not all of the art was for sale. Some artists wore their medium to the convention. FanX celebrated cosplay with fandom cosplay meetups once every hour.
Cosplayer Savannah Evenhuis spent four months working on a handmade Rose Quartz cosplay costume.