With South Africa’s rAge Expo just around the corner [win ticket here & here], the incredible Artist Alley returns with some of its best work to date. With a whopping 38 artist stands, this is the right place to come for everything from custom clothing, artwork, plushies, fan art, and jewellery to trinkets, headwear, blacksmithing, leatherwork, and a whole lot more.
The Artist Alley is an exciting and unique part of rAge Expo and will be hosted in Hall 2 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand from December 8th to 10th.
Meet the Artists of 2023: A Glimpse into Creativity
This year’s lineup promises a diverse array of artistic expression:
- Rainbow Thrift: Focusing on inclusivity and creativity, Rainbow Thrift offers pride flags, accessories for anime and gaming, and custom designs made by the community for the community.
- Estelle Sketched: Masters in Fine Arts holder Estelle Dry-Muller draws inspiration from comic books to create captivating artworks.
- Azure Snow: With the heart of a gamer, Azure Snow specializes in fun Chibi character fan art, including plushies and keyrings.
- J.B. Curiosities: A purveyor of all things from fae to the macabre, J.B. Curiosities brings 30 years of sculpting experience to create one-of-a-kind creations.
- Moccus Magics: Makers of unique dice sets for gaming boards (like Dungeons and Dragons), with each set utterly different from the next.
The Origin of the Artist Alley
In 2009, a few artists shared a stand at the Expo to see how they would fare, quickly learning that there was a huge demand for art and unique things in the geek culture space. The Artist Alley was then officially launched in 2010, boasting 14 exhibitors and a plethora of new merchandise for rAge attendees.
“The Artist Alley at rAge Expo was born out of a shared passion for art and the desire to create a unique space for talented individuals to showcase their craft,” says Nadja Späth – creator and owner of LegionEventsSA.
LegionEventsSA created the Artist Alley as a non-profit, created by artists for artists, to help provide a platform for them to be able to attend large events that they normally could not afford.
“The Artist Alley creates exposure and networking for these small businesses and artists, where they have access to the many people visiting the expo. The Artist Alley specifically caters only for the individual artist, crafter, writer, and self-made hobbyist, where people have turned their passions into unique, handmade, and sometimes one-of-a-kind products. Some have even grown their ventures into a full-time business and their main source of income,” says Nadja.
Michael James, Project Director of rAge says, “Each year rAge Expo offers this creative space to artists at a greatly reduced price to ensure they can showcase their amazing talent. Of course, none of it would be possible without Nadja working hard behind the scenes making it a reality.
Helping micro businesses and passionate individuals grow their dreams and imagination into something commercially tangible has always been one of our core objectives. The Artist Alley is the very embodiment of this vision, and we encourage everyone to stop by and support these talented entrepreneurs.”
Successfully Showcasing Hidden Talent
Through sponsorships and community support, the Artist Alley has become an opportunity for artists to showcase their work to the right audience at rAge Expo. It has welcomed new talent every year and has grown to include creators who express their art through other mediums such as polymer clay, leather work, crochet, chainmail, sewing and blacksmithing.
Some of the artists have gone on to a higher level of acclaim. Karien Naude, a self-taught children’s book illustrator, was picked up by a publisher to do precisely that for a range of works. Warren Louw, a popular local artist, went on to sign international deals to make comic book art covers, working for big names like ImagineFX, Udon Entertainment, Bandai Namco, and DC Comics.
Something for Everyone
The Artist Alley has a variety of goods to offer all ages and appeals to a large demographic. Anyone who likes comic book art, anime, goth, fantasy, gaming, and unique one-of-a-kind handmade items should take the time to visit.
Some stalls take commissions, so if you want something custom-drawn or crafted, bring your ideas with you. This is especially important if you are keen to have a gift made for a loved one within the geek culture world of SA.
“The Artist Alley helps to support small business owners who have turned their passions into products and works of art. Supporting these creators helps them bring their dreams to life and helps them continue to bring their amazing designs, creations and art to the people,” says Nadja.
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